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Ukraine and Russia in Their Historical Encounter 

University of Alberta 

compliments of 

Canadian Institute of 
Ukrainian Studies 
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Digitized by the Internet Archive 
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University of Alberta Libraries 

Ukraine and Russia 
in Their Historical Encounter 

Edited by 

Peter J. Potichnyj, Marc Raeff, 
Jaroslaw Pelenski, Gleb N. Zekulin 

Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press 
University of Alberta 
Edmonton 1992 

Copyright © 1992 Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press 
University of Alberta 
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 

Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data 

Main entry under title: 

Ukraine and Russia in their historical encounter 

Papers from the first Conference on Ukrainian-Russian Relations held on Oct. 8-9, 1981 
in Hamilton, Ont. 

ISBN 0-920862-84-5 

1. Ukraine — Relations — Soviet Union — 2. Soviet Union — Relations — Ukraine 
— Congresses. I. Potichnyj, Peter J., 1930- II. Conference on Ukrainian-Russian 
Relations (1st: 1981: Hamilton, Ont.) 

DK 508.57.S65U4 1992 327.4771047 C92-091407-1 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be produced, stored in a retrieval 
system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, 
photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the copyright 



Table of Contents 


The Problem of a Ukrainian-Russian Dialogue / Omeljan Pritsak ix 


A. Medieval and Early Modern History 

The Contest for the “Kievan Inheritance” / Jaroslaw Pelenski 3 

Muscovite Perceptions of Other East Slavs before 1654 — An Agenda 

for Historians / Edward L. Keenan 20 

The Unloved Alliance: Political Relations between Muscovy and 
Ukraine in the Seventeenth Century / Hans- Joachim Torke 39 

B. Modern History 

Ukraine and Imperial Russia: Intellectual and Political Encounters 

from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century / Marc Raeff 69 

Paul I and Ukraine / Edgar Hosch 86 

Ukrainian and Russian Women: Co-operation and Conflict 
/ Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak 101 


Myth and History in the Evolution of Ukrainian Consciousness 

/John A. Armstrong 125 

Ukrainian and Russian Perceptions of the Ukrainian Revolution 

/John S. Reshetar, Jr. 140 

Political Relations Between Russians and Ukrainians in the USSR: 

the 1970s and Beyond / Yaroslav Bilinsky 165 


Culture and Religion 

The Mask of Culture: Baroque Art in Russia and Ukraine, 

1 600-1750 / James Cracraft 20 1 

Ukrainian-Russian Literary Relations in the Nineteenth Century: 

A Formulation of the Problem / George G. Grabowicz 214 

The Issues of Ukrainianization and Autocephaly of the Orthodox 
Church in Ukrainian-Russian Relations, 1917-1921 

/ Bohdan R. Bociurkixv 245 

Economy and Demography 

Demographic Change among Russians and Ukrainians in the Soviet 
Union: Social, Economic and Political Implications / Ralph S. Clem 277 

Socio-economic Changes in the USSR and Their Impact 

on Ukrainians and Russians / Peter Woroby 296 

Conclusion /Nicholas V. Riasanovsky 327 

Appendix: On Ukrainian-Russian Relations 

To the Conference on Russian-Ukrainian Relations in Toronto 
/Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 332 

Open Letter to the Conference on Russian-Ukrainian Relations and to 
the Conference of Peoples Enslaved by Communism (Strasbourg) 
/Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 336 

On the Need of Russian-Ukrainian Dialogue (Commentary on 

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s “Open Letter to the Conference 

on Russian-Ukrainian Relations”) / Jaroslaw Pelenski 337 




Omeljan Pritsak 

The Problem of a Ukrainian-Russian Dialogue 

One of the great tragedies of our time is the sad fact that Ukrainians and 
Russians — or, to put it more precisely, the intellectuals and politicians of these 
two nations — have had in the past and present very little opportunity to talk 
openly with each other and to discuss frankly their respective and mutual 
problems. This kind of discussion is essential, since after the Ancient Greeks 
discovered the uniqueness of the human being (all other civilizations first dis- 
covered God), with pensive intellect as his distinctive feature, the only 
productive way to solve problems between two parties has been the dialogue , 
also an ingenious Greek invention. 

There are many historical reasons for the lack of Ukrainian-Russian Russian 
dialogue. The first actual meeting between these two peoples, which occurred 
in 1654, was indeed ill-omened. To the tenor of Professor Torke’s paper, I add 
that event’s appraisal by a scholar of the stature of Vasilii Kliuchevsky, who 
wrote: “Not comprehending each other and not trusting each other, both sides 
[Ukrainians and Russians in 1654] in their mutual relationship did not say what 
they thought and did what they did not wish to do...” 1 

The limitations imposed on the two peoples by pre-secular convention were 
soon blurred by the strange, secular phraseology and terminology of the first 
two West European intellectual currents, which almost simultaneously reached 
the two peoples during the Napoleonic wars, when both were part of the empire 
based in St. Petersburg. These currents were the Enlightenment and Romanti- 
cism, especially the latter, which proved to be a two-faced “gift.” On the one 
hand, Romanticism elevated folklore and the vernacular to the rank of the only 
true literary creation, thus giving birth to modem Ukrainian national culture. 
But on the other hand, it stimulated the creation of Nicholas I’s “Official 
Nationality,” studied in an exemplary way by Professor Nicholas Riasanovsky, 
with its emphasis on mystical and bureaucratic patriotism. 2 Romanticism also 
introduced the Hegelian concept of non-historic nations, which, as adapted by 
Marx and Engels, became such a dynamic force among the youth of the 
Russian Empire at the threshold of our century. 

Although the Russian Empire’s old regime was much more “liberal” than its 
“proletarian” successor, under tsarism certain boundaries were not to be crossed 
and certain problems not to be raised. Among them was the Ukrainian question, 
especially after the prohibition of Ukrainianism in 1861 and 1876. 

In 1905, not coincidentally in the wake of the first occurrence of revolution, 
the Imperial Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg published its famous report 


Omeljan Pritsak 

stating that the Ukrainian language was not a Russian dialect, but an 
independent Slavic language with a sizable literature (printed mainly in Galicia 
because of the previous prohibitions) and recommending that the prohibition 
against the Ukrainian printed word be terminated. This report was due 
primarily to two Russian philologists and academicians of very great stature: 
Aleksei Alexandrovich Shakhmatov and Fedor Evgenievich Korsh. Not only 
had they devoted their skills to the study of Ukrainian philology for decades, 
but they also had the courage to defend publicly, against all odds, the right of 
Ukrainians to their own culture. 

But even such an idealist as Shakhmatov (whose friends called him “St. 
Alexis, the Man of God”) had limits as far as Ukrainianism was concerned. An 
independent Ukrainian culture — yes! But when his Ukrainian friends, 
encouraged by his proven Ukrainophilism, spoke with him about the concept of 
Ukrainian political autonomy, they found staunch resistance. Shakhmatov 
would accept no such possibility. His reasoning was very simple: he objected to 
any “separatism” because it would “cut us Russians off from the warm sea” 
(meaning the Black Sea). Shakhmatov’ s reaction to the First Universal issued 
by the Central Rada (23 June 1917) was very definite and negative. According 
to his Ukrainian friend Petro Stebnytsky, Shakhmatov angrily cried: “Non 
possumus!” (We cannot allow it!). 3 As elaborated by Professor John Reshetar, 4 
Lenin, like the majority of Russians from Russia, was originally unaware of 
any Ukrainian issue; he wrote exclusively of and to the “Russian working 
class”. Lenin discovered the “peoples of Russia,” among them the Ukrainians, 
only during the revolution of May 1905. From that time he often dealt with the 
Ukrainian problem because of its increasing significance, but always in his 
typical dialectical manner: one day acknowledging the right of the Ukrainians 
to independence, and the next denying them equality with the Russian workers 
in Ukraine, who were to be treated as the only decisive group there. Lenin was 
ready to grant the Ukrainians a limited statehood and their own limited 
government and limited culture, but he reserved supervisory rights to his new 
form of empire centred in Petrograd. He would emphatically deny establishing 
the separate national Ukrainian Communist Party, the only real authority in 
Ukraine after the October Revolution. 

Throughout this century, only a very few Russian intellectuals ever dealt 
seriously with the Ukrainian problem. And even in our own time, the Ukrainian 
problem is not on the list of important matters considered by Russian 

One rare exception was Petr Bemgardovich Struve (1870-1944). But the 
perception of the Ukrainian problem by this “liberal on the right” (former 
“liberal on the left”), so aptly analyzed by Professor Richard Pipes, 5 was 
anything but attractive to the Ukrainians. Struve’s starting point was the 
concept that as a nation Russia was still in statu nascendi. Unlike Austria- 
Hungary, which Struve classified as a “multinational empire,” Russia should be 

The Problem of a Ukrainian-Russian Dialogue 


viewed as a “genuine national empire,” because it had the potential to 
assimilate non-Russian cultures. “National unity” was to be achieved not 
ethnically (as in Austria-Hungary), but culturally. Only one high and dominant 
Russian culture was to be permitted in the empire, with the Russian language 
elevated to the status of the koine , comparable to the Ancient Greek koine and 
German Hochdeutsch. For the Ukrainians, Struve foresaw a modest regional 
development, a phenomenon whose culture was to be confined largely to 
elementary education and patois literature. 

Peter Struve has not officially entered the Soviet pantheon, and he is not 
acclaimed as one of the communist Founding Fathers. In the first edition of the 
Ukrainian Soviet Encyclopaedia, 6 the entry “Struve, P. G.” states that he was 
originally a “legal Marxist,” but later, as a Kadet, became the ideologist of 
Russian imperialism and denied Ukrainians the right of autonomy. 
Significantly, in the Ukrainian Soviet Historical Encyclopaedia, published ten 
years later, after the Shelest period, 7 Struve is not even mentioned. Yet since 
the mid-1960s the official Soviet policy toward Ukraine, apparently spear- 
headed by Mikhail Suslov, has been nothing other than the realization of 
Struve’s concept of two cultures, that is, the implementation of the dominant 
Russian high culture and the unattractive patois Ukrainian “culture.” The 
concept of a “new historical entity — the [uniform] Soviet people,” launched in 
1976, is the most recent version of an idea that can ultimately be traced back to 

Why is this so? Apparently the Russians are still unable to overcome a basic 
blind spot in their vision of reality: they still insist on the integrity of their 
empire. This is very painful for Ukrainians to live with, but one must deal with 
that fact and look ahead, beyond it. It was only in the writings of the 
Decembrists in the 1820s that, as Professor Marc Raeff points out, 8 a shift in 
allegiance from the patrimonial ruler to the state, as an entity separate from the 
person of the ruler, occurred for the first time in Russian intellectual history. 
The secularization of the concept of a sacred, indivisible empire, and the 
freeing of the Russian nation from the burden of maintaining a universal empire 
(again, the two entities, empire and nation are still perceived as a oneness ), will 
one day reach even Russia. To be sure, it will be a traumatic experience for the 
Russians at first (as it was after World War II for the older colonialist nations — 
the Portuguese, Spaniards, Dutch, British and French), but also a necessary and 
liberating one. 

Now let me turn to past and present-day Ukrainian intellectuals. Apart from 
political populists of the brand of Mykola Kostomarov and Volodymyr 
Antonovych, two basic types have developed: one in interwar Galicia, which 
continues in the emigration (especially in North America), and the other in 
Soviet Ukraine. 

In the interwar period, owing to the activity of the political thinker Dmytro 
Dontsov (Dontsov, a Russian renegade), a blind hatred of all things Russian 

Omeljan Pritsak 


developed among the young generation of Ukrainians. This was a reaction 
against their father’s ideas: Mykhailo Drahomanov’s liberal confederationism 
and differing shades of socialism. To the young Ukrainians precisely these 
“decadent” teachings were responsible for defeats in the struggle for Ukrainian 
independence. From the point of view of Dontsov’s followers, nothing good 
could ever come from the Russians, hence there was no need for any dialogue 
with them. 

The totalitarian Stalinist and post-Stalinist regimes have created a unique 
human creature in Ukraine — the eternal younger brother who has no right to 
mature and is consigned to perpetual mediocrity. He has no right to an 
independent existence; he must forever be attached to his older Russian brother. 
Only a Russian has the right to be an original thinker, poet, scholar, politician, 
etc. The Ukrainian’s duty is simply to imitate him. Any originality on his part 
is regarded as an unforgivable crime and is punished mercilessly. 

A Soviet Ukrainian is a citizen of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, 
theoretically an independent state, a founding member of the United Nations. 
There is a Ukrainian government and a foreign ministry, but only one 
Ukrainian ambassador abroad: a representative at the United Nations. This 
“independent” state cannot make any decision, even in a trivial matter, without 
the prior approval of the All-Union (Russian) Older Brother. His native lan- 
guage is constitutionally recognized as the official language of his republic, but 
that language is denied any dignitas. In order to survive, a Ukrainian has to use 
Russian in his daily and professional life; otherwise he would be accused of 
nationalism or cretinism. If he is a scholar, he has no right to use original 
sources. Only Russian translations may be used, since only Russian is the 
window to the world. 

Although there are ten Ukrainian universities (where the primary language 
of instruction is Russian), every dissertation has to be written in Russian and 
defended and/or attested in Moscow. 

No institution in Ukraine can exist independently. Even the Ukrainian 
Academy of Sciences is now a branch of the Russian [“All-Union”l Academy. 
Although the state is atheistic, it maintains tsarist policies of co-operating with 
Russian [official] Orthodoxy in support of Russian imperialism. An in- 
dependent Ukrainian Orthodox church is denied the right to exist. Even the 
Galician Uniate church was “reunited” with the Ukrainian branch of the 
Russian Orthodox church. 

Certainly, in the Soviet Union there is no need for the older brother to be 
engaged in a dialogue with his Frankenstein-like creation, the proverbial 
younger brother who is far from his equal. 

This means that a Russian-Ukrainian dialogue, at least at the present time, 
should and must be conducted between those of us living in the free world. But 
the prerequisite is, in my view, that both sides free themselves from all 
complexes of the past (mentioned only in part in this short article) and turn 

The Problem of a Ukrainian-Russian Dialogue xiii 

their outlook and intellects toward a vision of the future. 

The Ukrainian-Russian problem is not unique. As mentioned above, other 
colonial empires and their “second-rate” subjects experienced a similar day of 
reckoning. Both the Russians and the Ukrainians should learn a lesson from 
such experiences. What is needed most is courage and frankness. As an exam- 
ple let us look at the courage and frankness of de Gaulle’s France, which 
brought about the decolonization of Algeria. 

The historical Muslim Algerian government was brought to a violent end by 
French intervention in 1830-48. Colonization of the conquered territory started 
as early as 1840. By 1843, Algeria was declared French territory and divided 
into three departments, like the rest of France. There were some rebellions by 
the native Algerians, the last of which began in 1954. 

But even in 1958, the French government reassured the several generations 
of French colonists who had their homes in Algeria that that country was an 
“inseparable part of the French republic” (a formulation so familiar to 
Ukrainians!) By that time Algeria’s population consisted of 9,240,000 Muslim 
Algerians and 1,035,000 Europeans, mostly Frenchmen; the ratio was 9:1. The 
cities and industrial areas were all populated mostly by the French; only 15 per 
cent of their residents were natives. Even the capital city, Algiers, had the char- 
acter of a French city. Four years later, as a result of a courageous decision by 
de Gaulle, against the will of Algerian-born Frenchmen, who even revolted, 
Algeria was offered the opportunity to settle her future by a free vote. On 1 
July 1962, the majority voted for separation from France, and the country in its 
entirety, without the establishment of any “non-Muslim” enclaves, was 
proclaimed an independent state. Although many French Algerians were 
descendants of settlers who had arrived a century or more previously, 90 per 
cent of them left the country. Their places were immediately taken by natives. 
Soon foreign enclaves disappeared, and Algerian cities and industrial areas 
became national Muslim Algerian. In the ensuing years, France and Algeria, as 
two sovereign states, settled all their remaining affairs (e.g., expropriation of 
abandoned property). Today they continue to maintain close cultural and 
economic ties. For instance, France continues to provide more than one-third of 
Algeria’s imports. 

This example suggests a possible solution for Ukrainian-Russian relations. If 
the Russians recognize — but this time in all seriousness — the sovereignty of 
Ukraine (within the present boundaries of the Ukrainian SSR), a reasonable 
exchange of population could settle and end forever the tensions between these 
two peoples. This resolution would certainly facilitate the establishment of co- 
operation by two equal partners. 

Can Russia produce a great statesman of the stature of de Gaulle? I pray it 

I therefore believe that after such a catharsis of liberating distance, the two 
peoples, Ukrainians and Russians, will definitely free themselves from their 


Omeljan Pritsak 

paralyzing complexes: Ukrainians from their inferiority complex and Russians 
from an imperial “older brother” complex. Then the two rejuvenated peoples 
will find a true partnership and enter a new period of their relationship, that of 
two equals. 

I regard this symposium as the first step in that direction. 


1. Vasilii O. Kliuchevsky, Kurs russkoi istorii. Part 3, in Sochineniia (Moscow, 
1957), 3: 118. 

2. Nicholas Riasanovsky, Nicholas 1 and Official Nationality in Russia, 1825-1855 
(Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967). 

3. Oleksander Lototsky, Storinky mynuloho (Travaux de l’Institut Scientifique 
Ukrainien, vol. 12; Warsaw, 1933), 3: 357. 

4. John S. Reshetar, Jr., “Lenin on Ukraine,” Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of 
Arts and Sciences in the United States 9 (New York, 1961): 3-11. 

5. Richard Pipes, “Peter Struve and Ukrainian Nationalism,” Eucharisterion: Essays 
Presented to Omeljan Pritsak ( =Harvard Ukrainian Studies , vols. 3—4 
[Cambridge, Mass., 1979-1980]): 675-83. 

6. Ukrainska Radianska Entsyklopediia (Kiev, 1963), 14: 133. 

7. Radianska Entsyklopediia Istorii Ukrainy (Kiev, 1969-72), vol. 4. 

8. Marc Raeff, The Decembrist Movement (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 
1966), 15. 


Medieval and Early Modern History 

Jaroslaw Pelenski 

The Contest for the “Kievan Inheritance” 
in Russian-Ukrainian Relations: 

The Origins and Early Ramifications 

The contest for the inheritance of Kievan Rus’ has represented one of the 
oldest bones of contention in the history of Russian-Ukrainian cultural and 
political relations. It began among the Eastern Slavs in the second half of the 
eleventh century and culminated in the famous controversy between the 
“Northerners” and the “Southerners,” that is, between Russian and Ukrainian 
scholars. 1 This controversy over the question of who are the legitimate heirs to 
the Kievan tradition — the Russians or the Ukrainians, which has continued until 
the present day, has had a profound impact on the development of the cultural 
perception, historical awareness, modem national consciousness, and the 
national mythology of the intelligentsias and even common people of the two 
sides involved. 

The three major theories or schools of historical interpretation formulated by 
modem scholarship about the Kievan inheritance are as follows: 

1) The monolineal and exclusivist Russian national theory developed already 
in the late eighteenth but basically in the nineteenth century in the works of 
Russian historians of the national-imperial school, such as V. N. Tatishchev, 
M. N. Karamzin, S. M. Solovev, and V. O. Kliuchevsky. Resting largely on 
historical-ideological claims and political-juridical theories formulated in 
Muscovy between the 1330s and the late 1560s, this theory was founded on the 
transfer of the ecclesiastical institution of the Kievan metropolitan see from 
Kiev first to Vladimir and eventually to Moscow, the uninterrupted dynastic 
continuity of the “Riurikides,” and on the Kiev — (Rostov-Suzdal) — Vladimir — 
Moscow translatio theory. 2 

The notion that Muscovy is the only legitimate heir to Kievan Rus’ has 
influenced the interpretations not only of Russian, but also of Western historio- 
graphy. Views critical of Muscovite theories about the Kievan inheritance and 
the canons of Russian nineteenth-century national historiography generally, 
even if expressed by such distinguished Russian scholars and intellectuals as 
A. N. Pypin, P. N. Miliukov, A. E. Presniakov, and M. K. Liubavsky, have 
been conveniently disregarded. 

2) The monolineal and exclusivist Ukrainian national theory advanced by 
Ukrainian national historiography between the 1840s and the end of the 1930s. 
It was summarized most clearly by Mykhailo Hrushevsky in his Istoriia 


Jaroslaw Pelenski 

Ukrainy-Rusy and in his seminal article on the “rational organization” of early 
East Slavic history. 3 This Ukrainian theory found its own line of continuity, i.e., 
Kiev — Galicia— Volhynia — Lithuania-Rus’ — Cossack Ukraine, and utilized 
mainly territorial, ethnodemographic, social, and institutional arguments. 

3) The official Soviet theory, which in ideological terms allots equal rights 
to the claims to the Kievan inheritance of the three East Slavic nations — that is, 
the Russians, the Ukrainians and the Belorussians — but which in fact is much 
closer to the traditional Russian theory and its forceful advocacy of Russian 
national interests than it is to the Ukrainian one. This Soviet theory also comes 
coupled with a distinct preference for research on Kievan Rus’ conducted in 
Russia proper and by Russian scholars primarily. Thus the major studies of 
Kievan Rus’ history since World War II have been written by Russian scholars, 
such as B. D. Grekov, B. A. Rybakov, M. N. Tikhomirov, M. K. Karger, and 
D. S. Likhachev. The last of these was the first to deal specifically with the 
origins of Muscovite preoccupation with the Kievan succession, again from an 
exclusively Russian perspective. It is significant that contemporary Kiev is not 
the principal centre for the study of the history and culture of Kievan Rus’. 

The Soviet theory was first articulated in the late 1930s, but was not 
elevated to the status of an official state doctrine until the Tercentenary of the 
Pereiaslav Treaty in 1954. Then it was enunciated in a document of extra- 
ordinary importance entitled “Theses Concerning the Tercentenary of the Re- 
unification of Ukraine with Russia (1654-1954) Approved by the Central 
Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.” 4 According to it, “the 
Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian peoples stem from one root, which is the 
Old Rus’ nationality that formed the Old Rus’ state — Kievan Rus’.” 5 The 
formation of the three East Slavic peoples, or, in Soviet terminology, “national- 
ities” ( narodnosti ), took place, according to this theory, in the fourteenth and 
fifteenth centuries, when the Russian (or Great Russian) nationality played the 
most important role of guarding the Kievan tradition, not only during that 
formative period, but also in the two succeeding centuries. 

Although there are serious differences of opinion among the protagonists of 
each of the three schools of thought, with a few exceptions like M. Hrushevsky 
and A. E. Presniakov, they all share several assumptions about the nature of the 
Kievan Rus’ state. One of them is that Kievan Rus’ was a well integrated polity 
based upon a unified Old Rus’ people or nationality ( narodnost ) of East Slavic 
ethnic origin inhabiting the “Rus’ land,” which allegedly nurtured an inherent 
proclivity for territorial, ethnonational, and political unity. 6 They therefore 
stressed the ethnic homogeneity, political unity, and cultural coherence of 
Kievan Rus’, familiar concepts in all nineteenth-century national ideologies. 
From this perspective, it was not difficult for both Russian and Ukrainian 
historians to go a step further and develop coherent and well-integrated 
continuity theories that linked their own latter-day nationalities with ancient 
Kievan Rus’. To do so they had only to modernize and refine earlier versions 

The Contest for the “Kievan Inheritance 


and couch them in appropriate academic terminology. 

This image of a unified, integrated, and even ethnically defined Old Rus’ 
which has been handed down to us by several generations of scholars, however, 
reflects the ideological concerns of the authors and editors of the Kievan 
chronicle, Russkaia pravda. Metropolitan Ilarion’s Sermon on Law and Grace, 
and the Vitae of the Kievan rulers more than it does the political, cultural, and 
ethnic realities of Rus’. Kievan Rus’ was never really a unified polity. It was a 
loosely bound, ill-defined, and heterogeneous conglomeration of lands and 
cities inhabited by tribes and population groups whose loyalties were primarily 
territorial, landespatriotisch, and urban but not national in the modem sense of 
the term. They were ruled for a time by a dynasty which very soon dissolved 
into several rival subdynasties which fought each other more fiercely than they 
battled the much-maligned nomadic “heathens” of the East. Although the 
decline and dissolution of Kievan Rus’ are usually attributed to “bad neigh- 
bours,” internal factors played a larger part. Among them were the victory of 
patrimonial territorial states and city-states over multiterritorial and hetero- 
geneous empires or protoimperial polities. 

Kievan Rus’ was a transitional polity which exhibited some of the character- 
istics of an empire, but it lacked a well-structured imperial framework. 
Comparing it to the Carolingian Empire or the Holy Roman Empire of the 
German Nation is, therefore, not quite justified, not only because of differences 
in ethnic and territorial composition, but also because Kievan Rus’ lacked a hi- 
erarchy of dynasties and an administrative superstructure. The “Riurikide” 
dynasty and the ruling elite of Kiev and the Kievan land — the most developed 
patrimonial-territorial unit and for a time the senior principality within the 
broader multiterritorial conglomerate of Kievan Rus’ — attempted to impose on 
their highly diverse polity the integrative concept of russkaia zemlia (“the Rus’ 
land”) and the unifying notion of a Rus’ people. In the long run they failed, 
however, for both concepts soon took on entirely different meanings. The 
concept of Rus’ did, however, refer to a relatively integrated cultural entity 
based on the Orthodox religion, a Slavicized Byzantine culture, and a trans- 
planted lingua franca in the form of Church Slavonic. This cultural unity was 
elevated to an ideal which, in the realm of ideology, was applied to the political 
and ethnic spheres as well. The city of Kiev and the Kievan land were among 
the oldest and richest in that part of the world and Kiev had long been the actu- 
al or nominal capital of Rus’. This lent prestige to Kiev from the perspective of 
the new polities that were emerging from the amorphous superstructure known 
as Kievan Rus’. The new polities could emancipate themselves so easily not 
because an artificially invented Old Rus’ nationality had disintegrated into three 
new nationalities, but because the old cities and lands provided a foundation for 
transforming ethnoterritorial groups into peoples or nationalities. For a variety 
of reasons their elites then laid claims to what they perceived as their rightful 
inheritance, and these claims ultimately assumed the status of national myths. 


Jaw slaw Pelenski 

The first phase of the contest between the claimants of the Kievan inheri- 
tance, or more specifically the senior capital city of Kiev itself and Kievan 
Rus\ lasted from the late eleventh to the late thirteenth century. Until the mid- 
1260s it was characterized by political and ideological succession struggles be- 
tween the subdynasties that ruled the four patrimonial entities of Chernigov, 
Suzdal- Vladimir, Smolensk, and Galicia- Volhynia. These struggles were 
followed by the transfer of the Kievan metropolitan see from Kiev, first to 
Vladimir from around 1250 to 1300, and then to Moscow in 1326, and by the 
establishment in the first half of the fourteenth century of the Halych metropoli- 
tanate. This unprecedented division of the Kievan metropolitanate marked the 
beginning of the conflict between Vladimir and Galicia over the Kievan 
ecclesiastical legacy. 

Of the four contenders, the house of Chernigov conducted the most pro- 
tracted struggle, the beginnings of which can be traced all the way back to the 
1070s. 7 From that time until the Mongol invasion of the Rus’ states in the 
1230s-40s, several princes of the Chernigov dynasty managed intermittently to 
ascend the Kievan throne and rule with varying degrees of success. Their aim, 
it appears, was to govern Rus’ from Kiev using the practices and customs 
observed in their own patrimonial-territorial principality. Since the principality 
of Chernigov disintegrated after the Mongol invasion, its competition for Kiev 
had no lasting historical consequences. The Chernigov dynasty did not die out 
until the beginning of the fifteenth century, and some of its rulers even retained 
the title of “Grand Prince” of Chernigov. The title had no real significance at 
that time, however, and no evidence suggests that the Chernigov dynasty per- 
petuated its claims to be legitimate Kievan heirs in that later period. 8 

Until the end of the 1160s, the contenders for the Kievan inheritance aimed 
at full control of Kiev and the adjoining land and at reestablishing the tradition- 
al relationship with other parts of Rus’ that existed in the reigns of 
Volodimer I, Iaroslav I, Volodimer Monomakh, and Mstislav I Harold. 
Throughout that early period, the takeover of Kiev itself was regarded by the 
contenders as the goal to be achieved, since Kiev was considered the most 
prestigious city and the proper capital from which to govern the Rus’ polity. 

That perception changed dramatically with the sack of Kiev in 1169 by an 
army acting on the orders of Andrei Bogoliubsky. That event especially shifted 
the attitude toward Kiev of the Russian ruling elite in the then emerging 
Suzdal-Vladimir principality from respect to ambivalence. 9 In its formative 
years, the Suzdal-Vladimir principality, especially during the reigns of such 
rulers as Andrei Bogoliubsky (1157-75), Vsevolod III Iurevich (1176-1212), 
and Aleksandr Iaroslavich Nevsky (1252-63), was tom between the need to 
retain dynastic and historical ties with Kiev, on the one hand, and the desire to 
diminish its status and enhance that of the rising patrimonial-territorial Grand 
Principality of Suzdal-Vladimir on the other. The desire to enhance first 
Vladimir, its capital on the Kliazma River, and later Moscow at the expense of 

The Contest for the “Kievan Inheritance 


Kiev is evident in both practice and theory, as can be detected in contemporary 
ideological writings. 10 

Vladimirian rulers claimed the Kievan inheritance through dynastic con- 
nections to the Kievan dynasty. This provided them with the justification to 
refer to Kiev as their “patrimony and ancestral property,” and to develop a set 
of ideological justifications to substantiate their “rights” to Kiev, based on the 
assertion that the Christianization of their land and the founding of the city of 
Vladimir had been accomplished by Prince Volodimer I. Using this assertion, 
parallels could then be drawn between Bogoliubsky and Volodimer I, who had 
aspired to be the senior prince of all Rus’. Andrei Bogoliubsky attempted to 
subordinate the other princes of Old Rus’ by referring to them as his vassals 
( podruchniki ). 

At the same time, the Vladimirian rulers were responsible for two sacks of 
Kiev — directly for the sack of 1169 (“for three days they plundered the entire 
city of Kiev with churches and monasteries; and they seized icons and books 
and chasubles”) 11 and indirectly for the sack of 1203. They also reduced the 
status of Kiev as the capital and the centre of Rus’ in order to elevate Vladimir 
to the status of principal city of Old Rus’. Under Bogoliubsky an attempt was 
made to establish an independent metropolitanate in order to undermine Kiev’s 
position as the ecclesiastical centre of Rus’, but it was not successful. At the 
same time, an ideological program was developed to supersede Kiev and 
replace it with Vladimir. It included undertakings such as the building of new 
impressive churches, the development of the cult of the Icon of Our Lady of 
Vladimir (an icon originally taken from the Kievan land), the celebration of the 
Feast of the Veneration of the Virgin Mary, a new Feast of the Saviour, and the 
veneration of the newly discovered relics of Bishop Leontii of Rostov. 12 

An ambivalent attitude toward Kiev is also evident in the political program 
advanced by Aleksandr Nevsky, as reflected in contemporary chronicle writings 
and in the ideological statements made in his Vita. Nevsky was credited by 
some chroniclers with having succeeded in obtaining from the Mongols “Kiev 
and the whole land of Rus’.” 13 According to his Vita, written from a devotional 
point of view, he was linked dynastically with the saintly srodniki Boris and 
Gleb and Iaroslav I. These references may be later interpolations in the text. 
The crucial opening passage of the Vita states only that his dynastic lineage 
reached back to his father Iaroslav Vsevolodovich and his grandfather 
Vsevolod III Iurevich, both of Suzdal- Vladimir. The same Vita refers to a 
eulogy allegedly delivered by Metropolitan Cyrill at Nevsky’s funeral in which 
the Metropolitan proclaimed that upon Nevsky’s death, “the sun has set in the 
Suzdal land.” 14 Curiously enough, the Vita emphasizes the Suzdal-Vladimir 
dynastic lineage of Aleksandr Nevsky and extols the image of the Suzdal land, 
but refrains from mentioning Kiev and the Rus’ land. 

The Vladimirian claims to Kiev were, therefore, not formulated with the 
purpose of supporting a Kievan revival or in anticipation of its glorious future. 


Jaroslaw Pelenski 

On the contrary, Kiev was to be subordinated to the rising capital city of 
Vladimir. The Kievan inheritance would serve as a convenient tool for gaining 
hegemony for the Suzdal- Vladimir principality over the lands of Old Rus’. That 
ambivalent attitude toward the Kievan inheritance has remained a Russian 
tradition, regardless of the changing nature of the Russian state or the capital 
city of the Russian Empire. In 1482, for example, when the Crimean Tatars 
sacked Kiev at the instigation of Ivan III, the Grand Prince committed 
blasphemy by accepting from Khan Mengli-Girei a gift of the sacred vessels 
plundered from the Saint Sophia Church. Significantly, this happened during a 
gap in the development of the governmental Muscovite theory concerning the 
Kiev — Suzdal- Vladimir — Moscow translatio formulated between the mid- 
1450s and 1504. 15 

The last principal claimant to the Kievan inheritance was Galician- 
Volhynian Rus’, a patrimonial-territorial state. 16 Its dynasty raised claims to the 
Kievan succession about half a century after the princes of Suzdal-Vladimir. 
Originally the intentions of the Galician- Volhynian dynasty were not even in 
direct conflict with those entertained by Suzdal-Vladimir, but they were more 
on a collision course with an older contender, the house of Chernigov. 

Similar in several respects to their northern competitors, rulers of Galicia- 
Volhynia such as Roman Mstyslavych (1199-1205) and Danylo Romano vych 
(1237-64) succeeded for brief periods in controlling Kiev and, by extension, 
southwestern Rus’. Their ultimate aim was to claim succession to all Rus’ in 
order to attain an exalted status for their principality among the lands of Old 
Rus’. Like Andrei Bogoliubsky and Vsevolod III Iurevich, Roman and Danylo 
were not interested either in ruling Kiev or in ruling from Kiev, according to 
the old tradition. They preferred to exercise the power of investiture and install 
minor princes or later, in the case of Danylo, even a governor. Danylo’ s 
replacement of a vassal prince by a governor can be interpreted as an additional 
contributing factor to the decline of Kiev in both the political and judicial 

The Galician- Volhynian dynasty devised its own ideological program vis-a- 
vis Kiev and the all-Rus’ inheritance based on the law of investiture, on 
patrimonial ties with the Kievan dynasty, and on the special relationship to 
Kiev of religious objects. This program is set forth in the Galician- Volhynian 
Chronicle, the third major component of the Hypatian Codex. 17 Of particular 
significance is the special “Introduction” to the Hypatian Codex, which ex- 
plicates the exclusive historical and dynastic rights of the Galician- Volhynian 
house to the Kievan succession: 

These are the names of the Kievan princes who ruled in Kiev until the conquest 
of Batu, who was in [the state of] paganism: The first to rule in Kiev were co- 
princes Dir and Askold. After [them followed] Oleg. And following Oleg [came] 
Igor. And following Igor [came] Sviatoslav. And after Sviatoslav [came] 
Iaropolk. And following Iaropolk [came] Volodimer, who ruled in Kiev and who 

The Contest for the “ Kievan Inheritance 


enlightened the Rus’ land with the holy baptism. And following Volodimer 
Sviatopolk began to rule. And after Sviatopolk [came] Iaroslav. And following 
laroslav [came] Iziaslav. And Iziaslav [was succeeded] by Sviatopolk. And fol- 
lowing Sviatopolk [came] Vsevolod. And after him [followed] Volodimer 
Monomakh. And following him [came] Mstislav. And after Mstislav [followed] 
Iaropolk. And following Iaropolk [came] Vsevolod. And after him [followed] 
Iziaslav. And following Iziaslav [came] Rostislav. And he [was followed] by 
Mstislav. And following him [came] Gleb. And he was [followed] by Volodimer. 
And following him [came] Roman. And after Roman [followed] Sviatoslav. And 
following him [came] Riurik. And after Riurik [followed] Roman. And after 
Roman [came] Mstislav. And after him [followed] Iaroslav. And following 
Iaroslav [came] Volodimer Riurikovych. Danylo installed him in his own place in 
Kiev. Following Volodimer, [when Kiev was governed by] Danylo’ s governor 
Dmytro, Batu conquered Kiev . 18 

This narration was composed either just after the conquest of Kiev by Batu 
in 1240, or after Danylo had made his final attempt to reclaim Kiev from the 
Tatars in the late 1250s, or just after Danylo’ s death in 1264. The line of 
Kievan rulers it provides from its origins to Danylo and his governor Dmytro is 
intended not only to demonstrate an uninterrupted dynastic line from the 
Kievan to the Galician- Volhynian rulers, but also to show that at the beginning 
of the thirteenth century the centre of power was transferred to southwestern 
Rus’. 19 According to it, the last legitimate overlord in Kiev before the Mongol- 
Tatar invasion was none other than Danylo, who invested the last nominal 
ruler, a vassal prince, and ultimately a governor. Therefore, any attempt to lay 
claim to the Kievan succession on the part of other Rus’ rulers, including the 
Suzdal- Vladimir line, which for a brief time between the early 1240s and the 
early 1260s succeeded with the help of Mongol-Tatars in obtaining the title to 
Kiev, 20 was illegitimate and invalid. This “Introduction” to the Hypatian Codex 
reflects the contents of many parts of this work, especially the Galician- 
Volhynian Chronicle, and provides evidence that both the codex and the 
chronicle were compiled to justify, among other things, the Galician- Volhynian 
claims to the Kievan inheritance. 

The ideological programs of the two dynasties differed in several respects. 
The compilers of the Galician- Volhynian Chronicle, in contrast to their Suzdal- 
Vladimirian counterparts, did not attempt to diminish the image of Kiev in 
favour of any one of their principal cities (Halych, for example), nor did the 
Galician- Volhynian rulers engage in a sack or plundering of that ancient city. 
The compilers of the Galician- Volhynian Chronicle treated Halych as an 
important centre of Galicia- Volhynia, but they did not try to substitute Halych 
for Kiev. Nothing in the Galician- Volhynian Chronicle suggests that it 
advocated any idea of Halych as a “second Kiev.” 21 Steps were taken to attrib- 
ute religious significance to the founding and rebuilding of towns such as 
Kholm and Volody my r- Volynsky, but never with the aim of undermining the 


Jaroslaw Pelenski 

status of Kiev. They were simply meant to show that the Galician and 
Volhynian lands also had towns worthy of note. An attempt was even made to 
link those cities with Kiev, as attested, for example, in the account of the 
rebuilding of Kholm following Batu’s invasion. When the Church of St. John 
was erected, it was said that Danylo brought icons and a bell from Kiev and 
donated them to the new church . 22 

Although the two territorial states observed many of the same religious con- 
ventions, including a providential interpretation of history, religion played a 
much greater role in the Suzdal- Vladimirian ideological program than it did in 
the Galician- Volhynian counterpart. Religious practices such as the veneration 
of icons, celebration of religious feasts, and adoration of relics of saints 
constituted an important part of the Suzdal- Vladimirian ideological program. 
The Galician- Volhynian elite was more pragmatic, as evidenced by data in the 
Kievan Chronicle pertaining to Galicia- Volhynia and in the Galician- Volhynian 
Chronicle itself. It did not involve itself in developing a system of religious 
ideological justifications, and its outlook remained more worldly. 

Comparable differences can be seen in the relations between the secular 
power and ecclesiastical authority of the two states. Almost from the beginning, 
Vladimirian rulers aggressively interfered in the affairs of the church, first by 
attempting to organize an anti-Kievan metropolitanate, somewhat later by 
endeavouring to dominate the Kievan metropolitanate and, finally — just like the 
later Muscovite rulers — by making every possible effort to retain exclusive 
control over the Kievan metropolitan see, which was eventually moved to the 
north. Such a transfer was accomplished easily, because the Metropolitan See 
of Kiev and All Rus’ was still an ecclesiastical province of the Byzantine 

The Galician and Volhynian rulers also had their conflicts with ecclesiastical 
authorities, especially after two of their appointees to the metropolitanate, 
Cyrill and Peter, proved to be “turncoats.” Those two metropolitans did not 
hesitate to accommodate themselves to the political and ecclesiastical designs 
of the Vladimirian and Muscovite rulers, the Golden Horde, the Patriarchate of 
Constantinople, and the Byzantine Empire, all of whom were interested in 
maintaining the unity of the Kievan metropolitan see and its centre, first in 
Vladimir and later in Moscow . 23 

When this new ecclesiastical arrangement proved intolerable, because the 
metropolitans of Kiev had become tools in the hands of the rising Muscovite 
rulers and the religious needs of the southwestern Rus’ were competely 
neglected, the Galician- Volhynian rulers simply curtailed their contacts with the 
Vladimir and Moscow-based Kievan metropolitanate and negotiated with the 
Byzantine Patriarchate for the establishment of a separate Halych Metropo- 
litanate of “Little Rus ’.” 24 In contrast to their Vladimirian and Muscovite 
counterparts, who clung tenaciously to the administrative link with the Kievan 
church, the Galician- Volhynian ruling elite was more inclined to seek 

The Contest for the “ Kievan Inheritance 


pragmatic solutions to religious and ecclesiastical problems and to abandon its 
ecclesiastical administrative claims to Kiev. 

When it came to secular claims, however, the Galician- Volhynian dynasty 
and elite retained their claims to the Kievan inheritance through historical and 
legal arguments. In them, the interchangeable use of the concepts Rus’, 
russkaia zemlia, and vsia zemlia russkaia played a significant role. The term 
“Rus”’ and its variants, “the Rus’ land” and “all the land of Rus’,” lost their 
original ambiguity and acquired geographically and politically clearly defined 
meanings that pertained from about the mid-twelfth century to the Kievan and 
Pereiaslav lands and subsequently to the southwestern Rus’ in general. 25 In the 
thirteenth century and throughout the first half of the fourteenth these terms 
referred to the Kievan, Galician and Volhynian lands, and at approximately the 
same time began to converge geographically with the emerging concept 
Ukraina (Ukraine), which appears for the first time in the Hypatian Codex 
under the year 1 187. 26 

The concepts Rus’, russkaia zemlia, and vsia zemlia russkaia were also used 
to mean Suzdal-Vladimir, though less frequently than they were applied to 
Galicia- Volhynia. In fact, the preponderance of available evidence suggests that 
over extended periods the use of these terms began to decline in the north- 
eastern regions in favour of other terms. For example, during the reigns of 
Andrei Bogoliubsky, Vsevolod III Iurevich and Aleksandr Nevsky, the terms 
“Suzdal land” and “Vladimir” were more commonly used, while following the 
death of Aleksandr Nevsky and until approximately the mid-fifteenth century, 
the concepts “Suzdal land,” “Grand Principality of Vladimir,” and eventually 
“Moscow” were employed to denote the territories of northeastern Rus’. The 
traditional terms Rus’, russkaia zemlia , and vsia zemlia russkaia were revived 
and applied to Russia proper beginning in the second third of the fifteenth 
century, but by then they acquired still different connotations. 

The Galician- Volhynian dynasty and elite, on the other hand, continued to 
advance claims to “Rus’,” “the Rus' land,” and “all the land of Rus’ ” and 
adamantly to restate their historical and dynastic pretensions to those entities 
until the very end of the state’s existence. Beginning with the rule of Iurii 
Lvovych (1301-8) and during the co-reign of his sons Andrii and Lev 
(c. 1309-c. 1321-2), and subsequently of Iurii II Boleslav (1324-40), the 
application of these concepts and claims to the inheritance in question were 
recorded in documentary sources, in the titles on charters, and even affixed on a 
seal. The seal used by King Iurii and his successors, for example, portrayed the 
king in maiestatis, crowned and seated on a throne with a sceptre in his hand. 
The inscription in Latin surrounding the central image read: s(igillu) domini 
georgi regis rusie. The reverse side of the seal, which depicted a mounted 
warrior with a shield in his hand, contained the inscription in Latin: 5. domini 
georgi ducis ladimerie? 1 


Jaroslaw Pelenski 

The use of Latin in these inscriptions and in documents is indicative both of 
the Westernization of the conduct of business affairs in the ruler’s chancery and 
of the evolution political thought had taken in Galicia- Volhynia. It had already 
manifested itself in the Galician- Volhynian state under Danylo, the first native 
king of Galicia, 28 whose (and later King Iurii’s) royalist conception of rule is 
unique in the history of the East Slavic world. Iurii’s sons Andrii and Lev 
continued in traditional fashion to claim Rus’ in their titles, as attested in their 
charters: Dei gracia duces totius terrae Russiae, Galiciae et Ladimeriae, and 
dux ladomiriensis et dominus terrae Russiae? 9 The same can be said about Iurii 
II Boleslav, who in 1327 referred to himself as Dux Terre Russie, Galicie et 
Ladimere 30 and who, apparently under Byzantine influence, applied the name of 
Rus’ exclusively to Little Rus’ in the Charter of 1335, where for the first time 
he styled himself dux totius Russiae Minoris?' 

This brief analysis of the early history of the contest to claim the legacy of 
Old Rus’ can yield some conclusions concerning its origins and its early 
ramifications. The role of the Kievan inheritance in Russian-Ukrainian relations 
defies convenient generalization. The complexity of the problem is compound- 
ed by its elusive quality, by its involvement in the sociocultural conditioning of 
the two peoples’ intelligentsias and other segments of their population, and by 
its absorption into the scholarly paradigms of linguists, ethnographers, and 
historians of various backgrounds and methodological approaches. Under such 
circumstances, historians, instead of asking popular “new” questions, might do 
well to reopen old ones and offer some “unpopular” tentative answers. 

The contest for the Kievan inheritance is neither an invention of the 
contending Russian and Ukrainian national historiographic schools, nor does it 
fall into the category of traditional territorial disputes, although certain parallels 
can be drawn with other historical, religious and national controversies from 
the Middle Ages to the present day. The notion that national legitimacy rests in 
tracing one’s heritage back to Kievan roots is deeply imbedded in the historical 
consciousnesses of Ukrainians and Russians alike, though originally it had no 
nationalistic implications in the modem sense. For this reason, projecting con- 
temporary national concerns into the history of Old Rus’ or speaking of a 
conflict between “nationalities” in the early medieval period, followed by as- 
sumptions about the existence of a unified Old Rus’ state, is erroneous and 

There should be no misunderstanding about the realities of the period under 
consideration. Both hard and circumstantial evidence suggests that little unity 
or harmony existed in the Old Rus’ polity and that the desire of its component 
parts to go their separate ways manifested itself early in its history and 
prevailed before the Mongol invasion. Following the reign of Iaroslav I the 
Wise, the dynasties, the lands, the cities, and the people of Old Rus’ apparently 
had no real feeling of unity or need for East Slavic “togetherness.” Some of 
them interacted with the nomads of the southern steppes, some with the Poles 

The Contest for the “Kievan Inheritance” 


and the Hungarians, others with the Meria and the Ugro-Finnic tribes. Early in 
its history, Old Rus’ displayed all the features of a multi-civilizational and 
proto-imperial polity. Two of its territorial entities, Suzdal- Vladimir and 
Galicia- Volhynia, followed separate roads of Staatsbildung to form two clearly 
defined and independent monarchical states. These two states shared a common 
religious and cultural heritage and even found themselves confronted with some 
similar sociopolitical domestic problems, such as the conflict between the 
monarchical power and the strong boiar groups aspiring to greater political 
influence, and their elites continued to maintain contacts. 

However, the two states differed in their relationships with other powers, en- 
tered into alliances with different partners, belonged to different civilizational 
and commercial communities, and were in more intimate contact with neigh- 
bouring states and societies than with each other. Furthermore, the evolution of 
their two political systems and their general ideological outlook diverged 
markedly and the two states were founded on dissimilar ethnically mixed strata, 
which, in fact, contributed to the definitive internal consolidation of the two 
separate peoples. 

The two states displayed contrasting attitudes in their political responses to 
the Mongol-Tatar supremacy in the ulus Rus’. The Suzdal- Vladimirian rulers 
were ready to co-operate with the Mongols and to serve in the Horde’s 
administration of the Rus’ lands. The southwestern rulers, such as Danylo of 
Galicia- Volhynia and Mikhail of Chernigov, actively opposed the Mongol 
domination of their states. 32 When Danylo’ s anti-Mongol policies suffered 
defeat, his successors managed to contain Tatar influences, and as a result their 
lands apparently were not integrated as effectively into the Horde’s tax col- 
lection system as those of northeastern Rus’. For obvious reasons, the Suzdal- 
Vladimirian chronicles are rather circumspect in their treatment of the Mongol- 
Tatar rule and the active co-operation of its dynasty with the Golden Horde. 

Similarly, opposite approaches were taken by the rulers of the two states 
with respect to participation in the anti-Mongol coalition and the related issue 
of the union of churches, both sponsored by Pope Innocent IV. Danylo of 
Galicia-Volhynia, like Mendovg of Lithuania, was inclined to join the anti- 
Mongol coalition and, although he actually did not accept the union, he was 
involved in the negotiations. As a result both rulers were rewarded, in 1253 and 
1251 respectively, by Pope Innocent IV with royal crowns for their support of 
his initiatives. Aleksandr Nevsky was evidently not interested in joining an 
anti-Mongol coalition, just as he firmly rejected papal overtures concerning the 
unification of churches. 33 

When Suzdal- Vladimir and Galicia-Volhynia departed on their separate 
courses they joined two different civilizational communities. Suzdal- Vladimir 
became part of a northeastern community of Russians, surrounded by other 
Eastern Slavs in the southwest, west, and northwest, Ugro-Finnic tribes in the 
northeast, and Volga Bulgars in the east. Its rulers were chiefly interested in 


Jaroslaw Pelenski 

controlling the Novgorod commerce and the Volga trade route. Following the 
conquest of the Rus’ state by the Mongol-Tatars and their takeover of the 
Volga commerce, Suzdal-Vladimir became their junior partner in the Volga 
trade. Their geographic location made the Suzdalians and Vladimirians the 
natural partners first of the Volga Bulgars and later of the Mongol-Tatars. Thus, 
their state was incorporated into the imperial structure of the Golden Horde and 
became part of a new civilizational entity along the banks of the Volga River. 

Galicia- Volhynia, on the other hand, constituted an integral part of the East 
Central European civilizational community that included Polish territorial 
states, Hungary, Bohemia, and even Austria, and belonged to the southern 
commercial complex which embraced those countries. The borders of this com- 
plex were defined by the Dnieper River in the northeast and the Danube in the 
southwest, with access to the Black Sea in the southeast. The famous old “route 
from the Varangians to the Greeks” had ceased to function effectively before 
the Mongol invasion of Rus’, not only because salt routes had been cut off by 
the nomads, but also — and primarily — because the commercial interests of the 
territorial states found new avenues and better opportunities outside the old 

Just as distinct were the differences in the development of their monarchical 
models, although at the outset they shared common conceptions of rulership 
(prince, principate) and utilized analogous (nominal reverential) titulature 
(grand prince and even tsar). In Suzdal-Vladimir the conception of rulership 
emphasized the senior grand princely position enjoyed by the rulers of that 
state, and its authors even made use of the Byzantine author Agapetus to 
buttress the exalted nature of the ruler’s status . 34 That status was based on a 
combination of East Slavic, Byzantine, and later Mongol-Tatar models. Unlike 
its northeastern counterpart, Galicia- Volhynia derived its notion of rulership 
from the East Slavic principate and the European royal tradition in its 
Hungarian and Polish manifestations. 

Even though the two monarchical systems were based on the theory of the 
divine right of rulers and both elites shared an Orthodox providential world- 
view, certain ideological differences were obvious even in the formative stages 
of their development. In the official ideology of the Grand Principality of 
Suzdal-Vladimir, for example, the Orthodox religious component played a 
greater role than it did in Galicia- Volhynia, which was relatively tolerant of 
other peoples, even those belonging to the Catholic fold. They displayed an 
open-minded approach toward the vexed issue of the union of churches under 
papal auspices . 35 The only villains, according to the Galician- Volhynian ideo- 
logy, were the “heathens,” that is, the various nomadic peoples of the steppe 
who lived in a symbiotic relationship with the people of the Old Rus’ lands. 
But even this attitude was not rigid, for it was no coincidence that some 
nomadic folklore (the moving legend of the ievshan zillia, for example) found 
its way into the Galician- Volhynian Chronicle . 36 

The Contest for the “Kievan Inheritance 


Developments on the territories of Old Rus’ ultimately led to the formation 
of two separate nationalities, that is, the Suzdal-Vladimir Russians and the 
Ruthenians, or, in other words, the proto-Russians and the proto-Ukrainians. 
Many factors were instrumental in transforming a population into a relatively 
integrated people in medieval times: territorial integration and continuity, 
consolidation of a territorial monarchical state, conduct of dynastic politics, 
participation in a civilizational community, development of a common religious 
culture and of secular attitudes, social changes and economic interests, inter- 
mingling of elites and population groups. The histories of the Suzdal- 
Vladimirian and Galician- Volhynian states provide good examples of the 
formative processes of the two medieval territorial states and of the two 

Which of them was more justified in claiming the Kievan inheritance? The 
answer depends on the significance one wants to attribute to normative value 
and on the weight one wants to ascribe to the various pieces of available 
evidence. If one were to answer it on the basis of the religious evidence exclu- 
sively, or on a combination of that and some aspects of dynastic politics, the 
Principality of Suzdal-Vladimir would have to be credited with having a serious 
claim. If, on the other hand, all the other factors, such as territorial continuity, 
ethnic identity, common social and institutional traditions, dynastic politics and 
religious or cultural evidence are added in, the Galician- Volhynian competitor 
emerges as the more legitimate successor. Since it was precisely this contest for 
the Kievan inheritance that significantly contributed to the splitting off of the 
Russian and Ukrainian peoples and to their consolidation as two separate 
entities to begin with, the debate over the Kievan succession that has followed 
since the nineteenth century can in itself be regarded as a further step in the 
protracted process of building a nation. 


1. For an introduction to this controversy, see A. N. Pypin, Istoriia russkoi 
etnografii, vol. 3, Etnografiia malorusskaia (St. Petersburg, 1891): 301-38. A 
Soviet perspective is to be found in N. K. Gudzii, “Literatura Kievskoi Rusi v 
istorii bratskikh literatur,” Literatura Kievskoi Rusi i ukrainsko-russkoe 
literaturnoe edinenie XVII-XVIII vekov (Kiev, 1989), 13^43. 

2. On the origins of this theory and the literature on the subject, consult J. Pelenski, 
“The Origins of the Official Muscovite Claims to the ‘Kievan Inheritance’,” 
Harvard Ukrainian Studies (hereafter HUS) 1, no. 1 (1977): 29-52; Idem., “The 
Emergence of the Muscovite Claims to the Byzantine-Kievan ‘Imperial 
Inheritance’,” HUS 7 (1983): 520-31; Idem., “The Sack of Kiev of 1482 in 
Contemporary Muscovite Chronicle Writing,” HUS 3^1 (1979-80): 638^49; 


Jaroslaw Pelenski 

Idem., “The Origins of the Muscovite Ecclesiastical Claims to the Kievan 
Inheritance,” to be published in the Acts of Congress devoted to “The Origin and 
Development of the Slavic-Byzantine Christianity: the Baptism of 988 in the 
Long Run,” (Rome, 3-6 May 1988), Studi storici of the Istituto Storico Italiano. 

3. M. Hrushevsky, Istoriia Ukrainy-Rusy, 10 vols. (3rd rep. ed., New York, 
1954-8); “The Traditional Scheme of Russian History and the Problem of a 
Rational Organization of the History of Eastern Slavs 1909,” in Annals of the 
Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U.S. 2 (1952): 355-64. 

4. Tezy pro 300-richchia vozziednannia Ukrainy z Rosiieiu (1654-1954 rr.) 
skhvaleni Tsentralnym Komitetom Komunistychnoi Partii Radianskoho Soiuzu 
(Kiev, 1954). 

5. Ibid., 16. 

6. For an antithetical view, see the study by O. Pritsak, “Origins of Rus\” Russian 
Review 36, no. 3 (July 1977): 249-74, as well as his The Origin of Rus’, Volume 
One (Old Scandinavian Sources other than Sagas), (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 

7. The history of the Chernigov land and dynasty has been treated by P. V. 
Golubovskii, Istoriia Severskoi zemli do poloviny XIV stoletiia (Kiev, 1881); 
D. Bagalei, Istoriia Severskoi zemli do poloviny XIV stoletiia (Kiev, 1882); R. V. 
Zotov, “O Chemigovskikh kniaziakh po Liubetskomu sinodiku i o Cherni- 
govskom kniazhestve v Tatarskoe vremia,” Letopis zaniatii Arkheograficheskoi 
Kommissii 1882-84 gg., Vypusk 9 (St. Petersburg, 1893), 1-327, 1^17; “Cherni- 
govskie kniazia,” Russkii biograficheskii slovar (St. Petersburg, 1905), 
22: 231-67; Hrushevsky, Istoriia Ukrainy-Rusy, 2: 312-38; O. Andriiashev, 
“Narys istorii kolonizatsii Siverskoi zemli do pochatku XVI viku,” Zapysky 
istorychno-filolohichnoho viddilu V seukrainskoi Akademii Nauk u Kyivi, kn. 20 
(1928), 95-128; V. V. Mavrodin, “Chernigovskoe kniazhestvo,” Ocherki istorii 
SSSR (Period feodalizma IX-XV v.v. v dvukh chastiakh). Part 1 (Moscow, 
1953), 393^400; A. K. Zaitsev, “Chernigovkoe kniazhestvo,” in L. G. Beskrovny 
(ed.), Drevnerusskie kniazhestvo X-XIII vv. (Moscow, 1975), 57-117; M. Dimnik, 
Mikhail, Prince of Chernigov and Grand Prince of Kiev 1224-1246 (Toronto, 
1981); B. A. Rybakov, Kievskaia Rus’ i russkie kniazhestvo X1I-XIII vv. 
(Moscow, 1982), 498-508. 

8. Hrushevsky, Istoriia Ukrainy-Rusy, 3: 175-81. The last document of ideological 
importance bearing on the activities of the house of Chernigov was the Vita of 
Mikhail of Chernigov. A. N. Nasonov advanced a plausible hypothesis that the 
execution of Mikhail by the Mongols in the Horde was the ultimate act in the 
struggle between the houses of Chernigov and Vladimir for seniority in the lands 
of Rus’ (Mongoly i Rus’ [Moscow-Leningrad, 1940/1969], 24-8). In his political 
biography of Mikhail, Dimnik advanced the hypothesis that the principality of 
Chernigov had definitely won the contest for Kiev and had actually become the 
principal force in Rus’ politics on the eve of the Mongol invasion ( Mikhail , 
Prince of Chernigov, pp. 136-9). Dimnik’ s hypothesis is based on the situation in 
the years 1235-6, which could easily have changed later even if the Mongols had 
not invaded Rus’. The fact that the principality of Chernigov ceased to be a 
serious factor in Rus’ politics after Mikhail’s death supports the established view 

The Contest for the “Kievan Inheritance” 


that the principality was internally weak. The title phrase of the Liubetskii sinodik 
refers to the grand princes of Chernigov and Kiev, only in a factual manner, but, 
significantly, gives precedence to Chernigov (Zotov, O Chernigov skikh kniaz- 
iakh..., p. 24). 

9. For general accounts of the history of the Suzdal-Vladimir principality, see D. A. 
Korsakov, Meria i Rostovskoe kniazhevstvo ; Ocherki iz istorii Rostovo-Suzdalskoi 
zemli (Kazan, 1872); A. E. Presniakov, Obrazovanie velikorusskago gosudarstva: 
Ocherki po istorii XII I -XV stoletii (Petrograd, 1918), 26-47; A. N. Nasonov, 
“ Russkaia zemlia ” i obrazovanie territorii drevnerusskago gosudarstva (Moscow, 
1951), 173-96; Idem , “Vladimiro-Suzdalskoe kniazhesto,” Ocherki istorii SSSR 
(Period feodalizma IX-XV vv. v dvukh chastiakh), Part 1 (Moscow, 1953), 
320-34; N. N. Voronin, “Vladimiro-Suzdalskaia zemlia X-XIII v.,” Idem., 
Problemy istorii dokapitalisticheskikh obshchestv, V-VI (1935); Idem., Pamiatniki 
suzdalskogo zodchestva XI -XIII v. (Moscow-Leningrad, 1945); Idem., Zodchestvo 
Severo-Vostochnoi Rusi XII-XV vv., 2 vols. (Moscow, 1961-2); Idem., Vladimir, 
Bogoliubovo, Suzdal, Iurev-Polskii, 3rd ed. (Moscow, 1967), and his concise 
article “Vladimiro-Suzdalskoe kniazhestvo,” in Sovetskaia istoricheskaia 
entsiklopediia, vol. 3, cols. 528-33. 

10. Ideological writings pertaining to the age of Andrei Bogoliubsky have been 
discussed by N. N. Voronin, “Andrei Bogoliubskii i Luka Khrizoverg: Iz istorii 
russko-vizantiiskikh otnoshenii XII v.,” Vizantiiskii vremennik (hereafter W) 21 
(1962): 29-50; Idem., “Zhitie Leontiia Rostovskogo i vizantiisko-russkie 
otnosheniia vo vtoroi polovine XII veka,” W 23 (1963): 23^4-6; Idem., “Povest 
ob ubiistve Andreia Bogoliuskogo i ee avtor,” lstoriia SSSR, 1963, no. 3: 80-97; 
Idem., “Skazanie o pobede nad Bolgarami 1164 g. i prazdnike Spasa,” Problemy 
obshchestvenno-politicheskoi istorii Rossii i slavianskikh stran (Sbornik statei k 
70-letiiu akademika M. N. Tikhomirova), ed. V. I. Shunkov (Moscow, 1963), 
88-92; Idem., “Iz istorii russko-vizantiiskoi tserkovnoi borby XII veka,” W 24 
(1965): 190-218; W. Vodoff, “Un ‘parti theocratique’ dans la Russie du Xlle 
siecle?” Cahiers de civilisation medievale 17, no. 3 (1974): 193-215; Iu. A. 
Limonov, Letopisanie Vladimiro-Suzdalskoi Rusi (Leningrad, 1967); E. S. 
Hurwitz, Prince Andrej Bogoljubskij: The Man and the Myth (Studia Historica et 
Philologica 12, Sectio Slavica 4) (Florence, 1980); J. Pelenski, “The Contest for 
the ‘Kievan Succession’ (1155-1175): The Religious Ecclesiastical Dimension,” 
Proceedings of the International Congress Commemorating the Millennium of 
Christianity in Rus’-Ukraine, HUS 12-13 (1988-9): 761-80. 

1 1 . This statement was made by the compiler of the Suzdal-Vladimirian Chronicle 
(Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisei [hereafter PSRL ] 1, issue 2 (1927): 354. On 
the events of 1169, confer J. Pelenski, “The Sack of Kiev of 1169: Its 
Significance for the Succession to Kievan Rus’,” HUS 9, no. 3/4 (1987): 303-16. 

12. For a discussion of the various aspects of this program, confer the literature 
enumerated in note 10. E. S. Hurwitz concludes that “Vladimir on the Kliazma 
was a second Kiev...” ( Prince Andrej Bogoljubskij..., 50), but contemporary 
sources make no such explicit claim. 

13. PSRL 1, issue 2 (1927): 472. 

14. For the critical edition of the Zhitie Aleksandra Nevskogo, see Iu. K. Begunov, 


Jaroslaw Pelenski 

Pamiatnik russkoi literatury XIII veka “Slovo o pogibeli russkoi zeml!' (Moscow- 
Leningrad, 1965), 159-80, especially pp. 159, 165, 178. 

15. J. Pelenski, “The Sack of Kiev of 1482 in Contemporary Muscovite Chronicle 
Writing,” HUS 3/4 (1979-80): 638^49. 

16. The most comprehensive modern treatments of the history of the Galician- 
Volhynian Rus’ and of the literature on the subject have been provided by 
Hrushevsky, Istoriia Ukrainy-Rusy, vols. 2 and 3; Josyf Pelenski, Halicz w 
dziejach sztuki sredniowiecznej (Cracow, 1914); V. T. Pashuto, Ocherki po istorii 
Galitsko-Volynskoi Rusi (Moscow, 1950); K. A. Sofronenko, Obshchestvenno- 
politicheskii stroi Galitsko-Volynskoi Rusi XI-XIII vv. (Moscow, 1955); 
P. Hrytsak, Halytsko-Volynska Derzhava (New York, 1958); I. P. Krypiakevych, 
Halytsko-Volynske kniazivstvo (Kiev, 1984). 

17. For a convenient English translation of the Galician-Volhynian Chronicle and for 
the literature on the Chronicle, confer The Galician-Volhynian Chronicle (The 
Hypatian Codex, Part Two), an annotated translation by G. A. Perfecky, Harvard 
Series in Ukrainian Studies 16, 2 (Munich, 1973). 

18. PSRL 2 (1908 2 ), cols. 1, 2. Confer also The Galician-Volhynian Chronicle under 
the years 1245/46 for the relevant statement, which reads as follows: “Danylo 
Romanovych, the great prince who ruled the Rus’ land, Kiev, Volodymyr and 
Halych,...” (58). 

19. Pashuto, Ocherki..., 17. 

20. Nasonov, Mongoly i Rus’, 26-33. Available evidence indicates that Danylo 
attempted to reconquer Kiev in the mid- 1250s ( The Galician-Volhynian 
Chronicle, 73). 

21. A. I. Hensorsky’s hypothesis, as well as his comparison of the alleged theory of 
Halych, “the second Kiev,” with Moscow, “the Third Rome,” should be regarded 
as artificial constructions ( Halytsko-V olynskyi Litopys [Kiev, 1958]), 86-7. 

22. The Galician-Volhynian Chronicle, 75-6. 

23. A partial treatment of Cyrill’s political adjustments has been provided by J. T. 
Fuhrmann, “Metropolitan Cyrill II (1242-1281) and the Politics of Accom- 
modation,” Jahrbiicher fur Geschichte Osteuropas, 24 (1976): 161-72. For a 
study of Russian-Byzantine relations in the fourteenth century, especially the 
ecclesiastical aspects, and the literature on the subject, see J. Meyendorff, 
Byzantium and the Rise of Russia (Cambridge, London and New York, 1981). 

24. Ibid., 91-5, including the literature on the subject. 

25. For introductory discussions of these concepts, see Nasonov, “ Russkaia 
zemlia..., ” especially 28-9 and L. V. Cherepnin, “Istoricheskie usloviia formiro- 
vaniia russkoi narodnosti do kontsa XV v.,” in Voprosy formirovaniia russkoi 
narodnosti i natsii ( Sbornik state!) (Moscow, 1958), 61-3, 81-2. A definitive 
study of this problem has not yet been written. 

26. PSRL (2nd rep. ed„ 1908), 653. 

27. Bole slav -Iurii II, kniaz vsei Maloi Rusi ( Sbornik materialov i issledovanii) (St. 
Petersburg, 1907), 249; Hrushevsky, Istoriia Ukrainy-Rusy, 3: 113. 

28. The Hungarian kings, who at certain times advanced claims to Galicia, were the 

The Contest for the “Kievan Inheritance 


first to use the title Rex Galaciae (1189) and Galiciae Lodomeriaeque rex (1206 
and later) (Hrushevsky, Istoriia Ukrainy-Rusy, 2: 449 and 3: 18). 

29. Bole slav -lurii II, kniaz vsei maloi Rusi, 149-50. 

30. Ibid., 4, n. 2. 

31. Ibid., 154. 

32. Nasonov, Mongoly i Rus’, 26. Dimnik argues that Mikhail of Chernigov was the 
strongest opponent of the Mongols and was therefore executed on orders of Batu 
(Mikhail, Prince of Chernigov..., 130-35). 

33. Novgorodskaia Pervaia Letopis starshego i mladshego izvodov, ed. A. N. 
Nasonov (Moscow-Leningrad, 1950/1969), 305-6. 

34. I. Sevcenko, “A Neglected Byzantine Source of Muscovite Political Ideology,” 
Harvard Slavic Studies 2 (1954), 142 — 4. 

35. The Galician-Volhynian Chronicle, 67-8. 

36. Ibid., 17. 

Edward L. Keenan 

Muscovite Perceptions of Other East Slavs 
before 1654 — An Agenda for Historians 

It is the objective of the present brief essay to draw attention to certain 
aspects of Muscovite perceptions of other East Slavs, and of the nature of the 
shared historical experience, that seem to me still poorly understood even by 
specialists and usually misrepresented in the general literature. I offer what fol- 
lows as an “agenda,” both as a means of indicating that what I shall have to say 
is not the finished result of systematic researches on the various matters treated, 
and in order to imply that historians have — or should have — tasks of under- 
standing before them that must be accomplished if they are better to 
comprehend the reality of Moscow’s attitudes toward other East Slavs in the 
period before roughly 1650. I must apologize for the scrappiness of the list; 
what I offer is intented not as a comprehensive new understanding but rather as 
a cluster of puzzled observations. 

My puzzlement arises from the observation that, contrary to the expectations 
generated by the commonly accepted notion of a shared East Slavic cultural de- 
velopment leading, in early-modern times, to the “emergence” of the three 
fraternal nations, our sources seem to reveal a greater “cultural distance” be- 
tween Muscovites and other East Slavs in, say, 1600 than was the case a 
century earlier or later. And when I observe that, surprisingly, Muscovite elites 
in the latter part of the sixteenth century appear to be poorly informed, and 
unconcerned, about the dramatic national-cultural struggles taking place in non- 
Muscovite East Slavic territory. And when I consider the evidence that, in par- 
ticular, the confessional polemics and politics that are so passionate and all- 
embracing for Orthodox citizens of the Commonwealth seem to have had little 
resonance in Muscovy, especially in court circles. And, finally, when I find that 
the serious and profound Muscovite awareness of both confessional and East 
Slavic national-historical matters that is characteristic of the latter half of the 
seventeenth century bears the mark of a new development, involving new 
actors, new texts, new languages, and new conceptual categories. 

I shall turn in a moment to a more detailed discussion of the reasons why I 
question generally accepted notions about how well Muscovites understood 
other East Slavic societies and how much they cared about them. But first let 
me pose the larger problem differently in a series of questions that would seem 
to constitute the minimum agenda for those who would either reject or embrace 
the views I put forth below. 

Muscovite Perceptions of Other East Slavs 


How did sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Muscovites — particularly 
those actively engaged in politics 1 — conceive of their relationship to other East 
Slavs? How much contact and social interchange was there among East Slavic 
elites? What was the “quality of communication” as measured by the ease and 
efficiency of linguistic and cultural mutual comprehension? How did Muscovite 
politicians react to the information that they did obtain from their East Slavic 
neighbours, and what attitudes or considerations determined their reaction? 

These plain questions, fundamental to an understanding of Muscovite 
policies vis-a-vis the non-Muscovite East Slavic lands, seem never to have been 
addressed with appropriate specificity. It would appear that the explanation for 
this oversight lies in the fact that they are questions about how Russians of the 
period perceived their Ukrainian and Belorussian contemporaries, whereas 
historians have been primarily concerned with Muscovite military and 
diplomatic (including ecclesiastical/diplomatic) activities, or with treatments of 
the East Slavic, primarily Kievan, historical tradition, as transmitted in the 
shared chronicles and certain other works. But did Muscovite politicians read 
their own chronicles? Did they understand them? What did they make of them? 
How, in particular, did they conceptualize the Kievan period and later events in 
Ukraine and Belorussia in relation to their own Muscovite history? We know, 
for example, that Ukrainian historical consciousness as concerns the Kievan 
past developed in unexpected ways and not without significant periods of 
interruption in the tradition 2 — what of the Muscovites? 

Our response to these questions must depend in part — particularly as 
concerns interpretation — on the answer to another deceptively simple question: 
How did leading Muscovites — members, let us say, of the most eminent 
political clan — see themselves ? That is, how did they construe their own history 
and, in particular, how did they conceptualize their own society? Did they, for 
example, think of themselves as part of a “nation”? How was that “nation,” if it 
existed for them, defined? 

Finally, we may ask whether, and how, the answers to these questions would 
change if we were to pose them with regard to different stages of Muscovite 
cultural history — 1550, 1600 and 1650, for example. In what follows, I shall 
stress the earlier period first, moving gradually to the later. 

I have already indicated my consternation at the apparent contradiction be- 
tween what I see in the sources and certain widely accepted views on the 
subject; I should begin, perhaps, with a characterization of these views that will 
necessarily be brief and schematic, but not, I hope, unfair. In enumerating the 
following points that I think we must consider most critically, I do not intend to 
imply that I think accepted views utterly erroneous and pernicious, but rather to 
point out that they are, in many cases, insufficiently justified by the sources or 
are, to some extent, based upon what I think to be anachronistic modes of un- 


Edward L. Keenan 

I think it quite questionable, to begin, that Muscovite politicians during most 
of the early period of Muscovite expansion possessed a culturally innate and 
spontaneous awareness of a shared East Slavic heritage and tradition, powerful 
enough in itself to make them irredentists and — to use a graceless term — “pan- 
rus’ists” as regards East Slavic lands to the west. I think it by no means 
demonstrated — and perhaps indemonstrable — that the noble cavalrymen who 
made decisions in the Kremlin about military and foreign-policy matters were, 
in framing their approach to relations with the Commonwealth, critically 
influenced by what we would now call religious, historical, or ethnic 
considerations. I think it quite unlikely that many — if any — of them had any 
extensive understanding of contemporary cultural and social process in the 
other East Slavic lands. I doubt that most of them — and at the beginning any of 
them — could “understand,” i.e., interpret and respond to, the remarkable 
dynamic of renaissance of Orthodox — and non-Orthodox — culture that was 
taking place among non-Muscovite East Slavs in this period. 

It is probably most appropriate to begin consideration of the range of prob- 
lems I have raised by dealing with the self-conception of Muscovite politicians, 
and with the obvious but necessary caveat that one must be cautious in 
applying modem conceptual categories to the study of pre-modem mentalities. 
Muscovite politicians did not, at the end of the sixteenth century, think in terms 
of “nation” as we have come to construe that term since the eighteenth century. 
(Indeed, I would argue that they had no equivalent term in their lexicon .) 3 And 
since, for example, these noble cavalrymen appear not to have considered par- 
ticularly significant, as determinants of their status of self-conception, the 
bonds of religion and vernacular speech that linked them to the great mass of 
Russian agriculturalists, it seems highly unlikely that they were particularly 
sensitive to the importance of their lesser similarities to Ukrainians and 
Belorussians as representatives of a more inclusive ethnic or religious category. 
To be sure, Muscovite elites perceived that other East Slavs — particularly 
“Lithuanian” noblemen to whom some of them were related by remembered 
ancestry — were more like them than, say, Englishmen or Persians, but it is very 
difficult to extract from the record evidence that Kremlin courtiers responded to 
“Lithuanian” East Slavs in some way that was functionally different, or as 
different as we would expect, from their treatment and perception of, e.g., 
Swedes, Poles or even Cherkessians. 

Further — even if we must acknowledge that sixteenth-century Muscovites 
had some operative sense of, let us say, svoi vs. chuzhoi, I think it very possible 
that they had so little information about other East Slavs in the middle of the 
sixteenth century that they were unsure to which category “Lithuanians” should 
be assigned. 

In order to understand how these systems of perceptions operated in the later 
sixteenth and earlier seventeenth centuries, we must begin by recalling that the 
culture areas of which we speak were, in several critical respects, significantly 

Muscovite Perceptions of Other East Slavs 


more “distant” from one another, and more different from one another, than 
they had been in earlier centuries, or than they became in more modem times. 
There is something counter-intuitive about such a conclusion; we tend to think 
in vaguely evolutionary terms about the history of the East Slavs, about the 
“emergence” of the modem Ukrainian and Belorussian and Russian nations 
from a common source, and the like. But the fact of the matter is that an 
enormous share of what is now “common” to these communities is the result of 
relatively modem processess: the growth, migration and convergence of 
populations; the spread of Muscovite political and social institutions; improved 
communications; various waves of educational standardization; and others. To 
be sure, these processes of assimilation were greatly facilitated by the existence 
of shared traditions of religion and culture, and they drew much of their formal 
aspect from the common heritage, but these facts should not obscure the 
differences and discontinuities of the pre-modem period. 

Centuries of separate development had produced, by the early-modern 
period, significantly divergent cultures and institutions in several East Slavic 
lands. These may, for the sake of brevity, be typified by the purely linguistic 
differences between, let us say, the vernaculars of Lviv, Polatsk and Moscow as 
of 1550, when these differences were still unintermediated by bands and 
pockets of bilingualism and by the learned diglossia of education and com- 
munications. 4 

Perhaps even more significant regional variation was produced, toward 
1600, by the differential impact on the separate East Slavic regions of the vari- 
ous influences of Balkan, Bohemian and Polish high cultures, and of social 
structures and political institutions of these neighbouring societies. 

Indeed, it might be argued that the period between the middle of the 
sixteenth century and the middle of the seventeenth was the time of greatest 
differences between Muscovy and other East Slavic societies as regards social 
and political structures. Both before and after, for various reasons, Muscovite 
elites and other social groups had more in common with their cousins, but in 
this period, from the Union of Lublin until Pereiaslav, very clear differences 
separated them. One need only consider, for example, the differences between 
Muscovy and the commonwealth as regards the role of the royal establishment, 
the legal status and corporate self-conception of the nobility, the position of 
townsmen, or the relations between church and state in order to become aware 
of these distinctions. All these differences made it difficult for Muscovites to 
understand, let alone to identify themselves with, the legal and political 
struggles of other East Slavic elites, or to comprehend adequately the sig- 
nificance that the notion of a “national” culture was beginning to have in these 

Moreover, even within these culture areas significant — and growing — 
distinctions among social groups meant that the idea of “nationhood,” which 
we apply so automatically today, meant very little; more, certainly, among the 


Edward L. Keenan 

Orthodox population of the Commonwealth than in Muscovy, but less even 
there, I think, than we might assume. In Muscovy itself, status and self- 
perception were still determined, as they had been for centuries, almost exclu- 
sively by heredity; among other East Slavs these critical aspects of self-aware- 
ness were shaped by a combination of heredity, an increasingly complex social 
reality, and the legal systems of a determinedly supranational Commonwealth. 

Finally, in approaching the problem of how Muscovites perceived their 
distant cousins in the western regions of East Slavic settlement, we must 
distinguish quite precisely among the attitudes of several distinct groups: the 
court, which we must divide into the grand-princely establishment and the 
oligarchy of boyar clans; the amorphous but increasingly important service 
gentry; the Church, which we must separate into metropolitan and parochial 
groups; and others. Of these others — the great bulk of the population — we 
have, of course, little account . 5 

One may well ask why, if Muscovites — and, in particular, Muscovite 
politicians — were so distinct from the dynamic events and processes that were 
changing the life of other East Slavs in the late sixteenth century, historians 
have typically assumed that they were well-informed and concerned about 
them. I would suggest that the answer is that historians have extracted modem 
meanings from pre-modern sources. Let me elaborate, very schematically. 

Kievan and Muscovite chronicles are, of course, the progenitors of modem 
historiographic tradition, and they are the sources to which historians of 
Muscovy must inevitably return. In particular, the Primary Chronicle, which 
describes events of the Kievan period, often forms the introductory or earliest 
part of even very late Muscovite chronicles. This fact has led historians to 
assume that Muscovites in general, and not only chroniclers, read, studied, and 
were moved by the tale of the common East Slavic Golden Age of Volodymyr 
and his immediate successors. 

But, while there is no denying that these Kievan annals were copied and 
incorporated into all manner of Muscovite historical compilation, before we 
assume that Muscovites — and in particular the Muscovite secular elite — drew 
from these annalistic accounts some compelling sense of historical East Slavic 
unity, we must consider two aspects of sixteenth-century Muscovite culture. 
First, we should demand more positive evidence than has heretofore been 
presented before we conclude that the chronicles — especially those that dealt 
with the early period of Kievan hegemony — were widely read outside the 
circles of the monastic clergy who were their copyists and authors. I personally 
find it quite helpful to think of the Muscovite secular court and the 
ecclesiastical establishment as distinct cultural spheres, each with its own 
literary language, social structures and cultural traditions . 6 Even if such a sharp 
division is not to be accepted, it must be said that the Muscovite secular elite 
was not distinguished by literacy, especially in the literary Slavonic in which 
many (and especially the older) portions of the chronicle texts were written. It 

Muscovite Perceptions of Other East Slavs 


is also true that the manuscript tradition does not support the view that any sig- 
nificant number of Muscovite cavalrymen owned or read such texts until the 
middle of the seventeenth century, when all secular elites began avidly to read 
native and foreign histories. 

Second, as one considers the Muscovite historiography of the later sixteenth 
century — the great Nikon Chronicle and subsequent original texts— it is 
difficult not to be struck by what we could call their Moscow-centrism; it is the 
events that are specifically important to the Muscovite princes and to the 
emergence of Muscovy that are elaborated upon in literary tales like the 
Zadonshchina\ the fate of Kiev itself and the history of the more westerly East 
Slavic lands, while mentioned in entries borrowed from earlier sources, do not 
often attract the attention of Muscovite elaborators. The Mongol destruction of 
Kiev, or raids on Kiev by Mengli-Girei and other Tatar khans, are treated most 
matter-of-factly, without the kind of literary excursions that accompany, for ex- 
ample, the entries about attacks on Moscow or Riazan. And in general, this 
later, original, Muscovite historiography for a time— until well into the 
seventeenth century— develops as a new national historiography, or historio- 
graphy of the Muscovite dynasty, revealing little concern for the Kievan 
heritage and even less for the later fate of other East Slavs . 7 Later, of course — -a 
convenient landmark is the Synopsis — Ukrainians themselves begin to re- 
introduce the sense of a unitary Rus’ historical experience, but this is a matter 
for later discussion. As to the beginning of the period we are considering, it 
should be said that, in the area of historiography, it is one of divergence in the 
tradition— one finds, e.g., the emergence not only of specifically Muscovite 
chronicles and chronographs with the point of view I have described, but also 
distinctively non-Muscovite compilations, the so called “West-Russian” chron- 

Another important source that has exercised considerable influence upon the 
traditional interpretation is, of course, the diplomatic correspondence of the 
period, especially the various exchanges between Moscow and Vilnius 
concerning disputed lands and towns in Belorussia and Ukraine. The critical 
phrase, often repeated in such documents from the times of Ivan III if not earli- 
er, is “such-and-such a town (say, Smolensk) is our patrimony ( otchina).” Now 
the modem interpretational predispositions of statist and national historiography 
have led scholars to make much of this diplomatic cliche: to some it has been 
taken as evidence that the boundaries of a Muscovite nation-state were 
“legally” constmed as extending as far as the given town or territory; others 
have seen it as evidence that the Muscovite Grand Princes saw themselves as 
custodians of a national territory so defined. 

I would question whether the preponderance of the evidence permits such 
interpretations. First, let us remember that the Grand Princes were the kingpins 
of an oligarchic political system based in significant part upon genealogical 
relationships; no one knew better than the very diaki who wrote these 


Edward L. Keenan 

diplomatic texts that scores of Riurikids had some reason to consider Smolensk 
their otchina , and that the claim of the Daniilovichi (the princes of the Moscow 
house) was not necessarily the strongest. Second, as I mentioned, the notion of 
the Grand Prince as custodian of some national destiny in anything like our 
modem sense is quite alien to this period. Of course, in the diplomatic phases 
of the struggle for control of these contested territories, Muscovites attempted 
to justify their political objectives with the aid of whatever historical claims 
came to hand. (One could hardly, after all, begin negotiations by declaring that 
one coveted Smolensk for its good fortifications and strategic location). And 
since Muscovites apparently knew that their state — or, rather, their ruling 
dynasty — a historical entity that they did construe as meaningful, had no recent 
historical claim, those who were at pains to justify Muscovite policy were 
constrained to broaden the context of discussion until it embraced some 
category that included both Muscovy and these clearly non-Muscovite lands. 
The general (and, nota bene , not necessarily juridicial) notion of “patrimony,” 
then, served this purpose. I suggest that the formula be read, in modem 
parlance, “we have certain historical interests in this region.” 

Another point upon which the modem interpretative stance has misled us in 
reading documentary sources, in my view, is the matter of religion — or, more 
specifically, what we might call confessional politics. Much has been made, 
since the very beginnings of historiography on these matters, of the mentions of 
religion that are found in diplomatic and other sources. But there is, I would 
argue, something slightly paradoxical about any discussion of religion in 
sixteenth-century Muscovite diplomatic sources, since, in that period, the court 
itself (by contrast, e.g., with the chronicle-writers) seems to have been rather 
secular-minded and tolerant about confessional matters (as, for example, in its 
attitude toward Muslims). Such a statement, while unorthodox, should not be 
surprising, in view of the fact that Muscovy was still distant from the great 
confessional struggles of the age in more western lands. 

Indeed, what is surprising is the fact that religious matters do indeed find 
their way into the diplomatic sources, whence, as I have said, I think scholars 
have drawn the wrong conclusions. Wrong, because, if we look at the sources 
in the light of what we know about Muscovite court culture of the time, and not 
from the point of view of what came much later in Moscow’s cultural develop- 
ment, we can interpret these discussions of confessional matters quite dif- 
ferently. What we must keep in mind is the fact that, from the discussion of 
Ivan Ill’s marriage to Zoe/Sofia to the great arguments about the betrothal of 
Peter the Great’s Aunt Irene to Valdemar of Denmark in the 1640s, the great 
majority of such discussions of religious matters is elicited by questions of 
marriage, an institution that was by its nature specifically religious — confirmed 
by a sacrament — whatever other considerations may have determined the 
choice of partners. At the same time, marriage was, for Muscovite courtiers, the 
link that held the clan-based patronage organizations of the oligarchy together 

Muscovite Perceptions of Other East Slavs 


and bound them to the Great-Princely family. 

Betrothals, in and around the royal family, were the crucial events of 
domestic politics in the Kremlin. The marriages of the heirs to the throne, and 
the associated lesser pairings that usually followed closely upon these, estab- 
lished, reinforced and symbolized the political arrangements of a whole genera- 
tion. Muscovite politicians realized that if the Great-Princely family were to 
spring itself loose from that affinal web that made the leading clan elders the 
brothers-in-law and uncles of the Great Prince, the base of their power would 
be diminished, and a configuration like those of other states would arise, in 
which the royal establishment, with its non-noble and dependent bureaucracy 
and clients, would stand apart from and opposed to the hereditary nobility. The 
potential consequence of such a development for boyar families was clear: they 
would be deprived, in a system based upon clan seniority and formulated in the 
system of mestnichestvo, of both their only mechanism for orderly change in 
their own relationships and of their best guarantee against political chaos. Any 
betrothal, in Kremlin circles, pitted those who stood to benefit from the pro- 
spective marriage against those whom it would place at a greater distance from 
the throne. When faced with the dangers of such a potential match within their 
own group, the opposition resorted, as the record amply demonstrates, to back- 
stairs intrigue, poison, and black magic. In dealing with the greater, external, 
threat to the whole political system, they employed the additional weapon of 
religious arguments. That they did so, however, cannot be taken as proof of 
their religiosity or — in the present context — of their participation in or under- 
standing of the confessional politics of the Orthodox lands of the Common- 
wealth. About such matters, I submit, in this early period they were surprisingly 
indifferent and ignorant. 

Let me detain you with a single well-known and historiographically very 
influential example. The famous “disputation” between Ivan the Terrible and 
Antonio Possevino has often been cited as an example both of Ivan’s 
theological erudition and sensitivity and of the anti-Catholicism and Orthodox 
militancy of the Muscovite court. Indeed, Possevino’ s own report of that 
encounter leaves the strong impression that, although the Italian Jesuit was par- 
ticularly eloquent in his exposition of the contemporary position of the Vatican 
in matters of faith and ecumenicity, the Muscovites were obdurate in the 
defence of their heretical ways. If, however, one compares Possevino’ s ex post 
facto report to his superiors in the Vatican with the far more prosaic and 
detailed contemporary records of the Muscovite Posolskii prikaz, there emerges 
a rather different impression of that encounter. For the Muscovite record, with 
the dogged meticulousness, love of the letter, and fond embrace of verbatim 
repetition that characterizes prikaz documents, reveals not only that many of 
the complex religious questions dealt with in Possevino’ s account were not 
even recorded — and probably not discussed — but that Ivan IV demonstrated a 
decided lack of interest in matters of religion. Ivan did, it is true, have some 


Edward L. Keenan 

curiosity about such unnatural Roman practices as the shaving of beards, but he 
quite explicitly and repeatedly told the Italian Jesuit that he had no wish to 
discuss what he called “major matters of religion” with him. There does, of 
course, arise a question here of the reliability of the two accounts; but I think it 
quite clear, on the basis of what we know both about the conventions of the 
Posolskii prikaz and about Possevino’s literary activity, that the diaki left us a 
trustworthy account, while Possevino embroidered his narrative with texts 
prepared in advance for the occasion and perhaps even read aloud, but which, 
however, had little effect. During this period, I would argue, even in the context 
of important peace negotiations with Stefan Batory concerning the fate of 
Orthodox Belorussian and Ukrainian populations, Muscovite politicians, and in 
particular Ivan, were simply not interested in theological jousting. Little more 
than a generation later things would be quite different — but that is another 

The Possevino materials in the Muscovite records reveal something else that 
is of interest to us today: the texts of the posolskie knigi are here, as in many 
other cases that have to do with relations with Moscow’s western neighbours, 
linguistically quite heterogeneous. That is, although much of the description 
and formal matter is presented in what was by the 1580s the highly standard- 
ized and purely Muscovite prikaz language, the passages that represent 
translations of what Possevino said or presented in written form are full of what 
we might call “Lithuanianisms,” that is, the lexical and grammatical features 
that distinguish the chancery language of Vilnius and the Orthodox lands of the 
Commonwealth. It is not difficult to conclude, upon close reading, that, to the 
extent that Ivan and Possevino spoke to one another at all, they were speaking 
through one and one-half interpreters, that is, Possevino was speaking some 
kind of Latin to a Belorussian or Ukrainian (whom he calls his “young inter- 
preter”), who rendered his speeches in a mixed East Slavic not unlike what one 
hears even today when uneducated Ukrainians and Russians converse. What is 
quite clear, whatever the actual process of translation might have been, is that 
mutual comprehension was far from perfect: the portions of Possevino’s 
account that corresponded almost verbatim with the Muscovite record provide 
some rather humorous examples, including the discussion of beards, from 
which it is clear that Possevino remained under the impression that Ivan was 
talking about the Pope’s beard, while the Muscovites record that Possevino 
claimed that he — Possevino — did not shave his own beard! 

This linguistic detail is no isolated curiosity. It draws attention to an 
important fact that the linguistic process of intervening centuries tends to 
obscure from us: Muscovites had significant linguistic difficulties with both 
vernacular and literary Belorussian and Ukrainian in this early period; they 
misunderstood; they had few experienced interpreters; they could not even 
“clean up” a macaronic text when it was recopied for inclusion in important 
official records. This difficulty was alleviated during the following period, but 

Muscovite Perceptions of Other East Slavs 


the process was slow and not necessarily “natural.” 

Other examples might be adduced; the point I should like to make is that the 
record does not, in my view, support the conclusions that the ruling elite in 
Moscow was well-informed about events in non-Muscovite East Slavic ter- 
ritory, that some sense of historical unity moved Muscovites to become 
involved in those events, or that they were inclined to be responsive to the 
religious-cultural struggles that were taking place to the west. 

There were, however, those in Muscovy who were much more aware of 
what was happening in non-Muscovite Orthodox communities, more aware of 
the chronicle traditions, and more concerned about matters of confessional 
politics. These were the clergy, and in particular, in the earliest period, the 
clergy of Novgorodian and Pskovian monasteries and centres in the vast 
northern Novgorodian hinterland, the Pomore. By proximity and historical 
experience, these centres were at first more closely associated with Belorussian 
and Ukrainian lands than was Moscow itself, and they seem to have been 
differentially receptive to the literature, both manuscript and printed, that began 
to emerge from the west in the last decades of the sixteenth century. It was in 
these areas, apparently, that many of the first translations of Ukrainian and 
Belorussian works were made, and it was through these networks — later, it 
appears, to become Old Believer networks — that they were spread in Muscovy 

Mention of the Old Belief brings me to one of the most complex and 
perplexing aspects of our subject. The unfortunate neglect of the Old Believer 
tradition in Russian scholarship, on the one hand, and the indiscriminate 
inclusion of Old-Believer works in the mainstream of Muscovite texts, on the 
other, have created a great deal of confusion in the study of the cultural 
relations between Muscovy and other East Slavic centres. The problem is 
caused, in part, by the fact that as they became increasingly alienated from the 
established church, Old Believers became increasingly dependent upon 
translations from pre-Nikonian printed books published on Belorussian and 
Ukrainian territory, whose provenance they disguised by omitting title-page in- 
formation, and spread in numerous copies through rural Muscovy. These were, 
of course, texts in which the anti-Catholic and, to a lesser extent, anti-Protestant 
arguments (Muscovites confused the two on occasion) that were generated in 
the cultural struggles in the western lands were eloquently set forth; as a rule, 
they reflected an earlier “Vilnius” (pre-Brest) stage of that struggle. The Old 
Believers used them against the official Orthodoxy of the Nikonians, itself 
heavily influenced by the post-Mohyla Kievan theology, which Old Believers 
saw with some justification as dangerously tainted by Catholicism. Scholars 
have relied on these Old Believer texts as evidence that Muscovites in general 
were keenly involved in the confessional disputes of their East Slavic cousins 
in the earlier period; the matter is more complex than has been realized, and 
still awaits discriminating study. 


Edward L. Keenan 

I should mention here a paradox, or rather a neat symmetry: after roughly 
the middle of the seventeenth century, older texts from the East Slavic areas of 
the Commonwealth, the so-called knigi litovskoi pechati, were for the Old 
Believers the repository of the “Old True Faith,” much as Muscovy had been, 
for Ukrainians and Belorussians a century earlier, the source of “old and 
authentic” manuscripts — such as that used for the Ostrih Bible — and of 
“unspoiled” icons. 

Let me conclude our discussion of the problems of the names of Muscovite 
understandings of the other East Slavs with some remarks on the Moscow 
expedition of one such antique hunter, a monk from Kamianets by name Isaiah. 
Bom in Ukraine, educated in Moldavia, Isaiah seems to have been one of the 
bright young men of his time and place. In 1560 he was chosen to make an 
expedition to Muscovy, in order to obtain there some hagiographic literature 
and icons that were not available in Ukraine. (He may have had some other 
assignment, but the evidence is ambiguous on that count.) In Moscow he fell 
into deep trouble for reasons unknown, and apparently he never returned home. 
Isaiah is interesting in many respects, but those that concern us particularly 
today are two: first, it appears from his petitions for release that some part in 
his incarceration was played by confessional differences — he says at one point 
that “I did not come to raise questions about belief.” One must assume from 
this that at least some Muscovites, long before the Union and the unleashing of 
the Jesuit-led Counter-Reformation, felt that Ukrainians were somehow hereti- 
cal, or at least dangerously different. The second reason that Isaiah is 
interesting is that it was probably he who, in a sense, re-imported Maksim Grek 
into Muscovy. It seems that it was in part thanks to his efforts that interest in 
Maksim, which was surprisingly insignificant at mid-century, began to grow, 
and it seems quite logical that it would be such a person, educated in the 
monasteries of Moldavia, where the new Greek humanism that would soon 
sweep into Ukraine was already establishing itself, would hold Maksim in 
higher esteem than the Muscovites had originally done. Isaiah, about whom we 
should be able to learn a great deal more than we now know, is a fine example 
of how paradoxical, at times, the cultural history of these two East Slavic 
centres becomes upon close examination. 

But I must move on. To summarize these brief remarks on the state of 
Muscovy’s perception of the other East Slavic lands in the latter part of the 
sixteenth century, then, I would say that, for the most part, the political elites 
had surprisingly little information about, interest in, or concern for what we 
would today consider the most important aspects of cultural-political life in the 
main centers of Ukrainian and Belorussian culture. Of course, the situation was 
changing as the century came to an end, and these relationships were trans- 
formed particularly by the events of the turbulent decade we call the Smuta. 

When I say “transformed,” I have in mind for the most part the longer-range 
effects of the Smuta ; in the context we are examining here one of the most 

Muscovite Perceptions of Other East Slavs 


remarkable aspects of this period is what did not happen between and among 
East Slavic elites. The events of the period provided numerous occasions for 
intimate and long-term contacts between Muscovite noble cavalrymen and their 
East Slavic counterparts within the Commonwealth; Litva, both Catholic and 
Orthodox, came to Moscow in force for the first time. This period was, more- 
over, one in which the first stirrings of what might properly be called a Russian 
national sentiment, transcending class and traditional regional boundaries, made 
themselves felt. Finally, at least some writers, in some contexts, construed the 
battles of the period as battles between Orthodoxy and its enemies. What better 
context for the awakening of the interest of Muscovites in the cultural life of 
their East Slavic coreligionists? 

And yet here, too, the record disappoints those who would look for such 
interest among Muscovite politicians, or even for an awareness of the complex- 
ity of life in the Commonwealth. It appears, for example, that contemporary 
Muscovite writers frequently made no distinction between Ukrainians and Poles 
in the Commonwealth forces, or between Catholics and Orthodox. They are 
Litva', of the Polish occupation of the Kremlin one chronicle says simply, “A 
by la Moskva za Litvoiu tri gody .” In general, the Time of Troubles provides an- 
other example of how our Muscovite sources can lead us astray if we are not 
careful: the most influential narrative accounts, the so-called Povesti o smutnom 
vremeni, so ably studied by Platonov and others, would lead one to believe that 
there was more national and religious sentiment involved in the motivations of 
the main actors than there probably actually was. But these were written well 
after the event, and by churchmen — or churchly men — they are quite at 
variance with the documentary record and the memoirs of participants such as 
Zolkiewski. Certainly the various coalitions of boyars who treated with, and 
even supported, the First False Dimitrii, Wladyslaw and Zygmunt, and even the 
Swedes, were not what we would call “up tight” about religion or East Slavic 
unity. The conversations between Zolkiewski and Prince Mstislavsky are partic- 
ularly interesting in this regard. Here we have a Polish Catholic nobleman, 
owner of vast estates in Ukraine, dealing with a Muscovite boyar who is the 
son of a Ukrainian prince, and they seem to discuss only the most pragmatic 
political affairs, concluding a deal that is eminently practical, but owes little to 
the national or religious sentiments that the authors of the Povesti would have 
us believe were turning Muscovite hearts to ashes. 

Zolkiewski, of course, had a model in mind — that of an expanded multi- 
ethnic noble republic — in which such sentiments, while certainly important, 
might find a modus vivendi similar to that then operating in the Common- 
wealth. Mstislavsky and his boyar colleagues, for their part, were willing to 
have Wladyslaw as tsar — as they had been willing to have the False 
Dimitrii — because their primary objective was the restoration of the political 
stability of a system in which they could retain their oligarchic position under a 
nominal king. In the end, of course, the deal fell through — but not because of 


Edward L. Keenan 

religious or national sentiments. (It should be remembered that, after Zygmunt 
failed them, the boyars made very serious overtures to the Swedes, and would 
have been satisfied, like the Poles earlier, with a tsar from the house of Vasa.) 
Of course, the Russians insisted that whoever became tsar convert to Ortho- 
doxy — but this stipulation, as I see it, had to do with the marriage politics of 
the court; the example of the False Dimitrii had reinforced their insistence upon 
that linchpin of their political system. 

But even if the immediate results of the Smuta experience had not funda- 
mentally changed Muscovite attitudes about the supranational significance of 
Orthodoxy or about their historical relationship to other East Slavs, it did, as I 
have indicated, mark the beginning of a number of long-range processes that 
ultimately — rather late in the century — gave rise to the attitudes that are often 
thought of as typical for the earlier period. This change, I think, was brought 
about by several new factors, internal and external. 

First, the experience of the Time of Troubles seems to have created, within 
the Muscovite court, a significant group of individuals who, for the first time 
since the influx of “Lithuanian” nobles in the early sixteenth century — i.e., be- 
fore the major cultural developments in Ukraine and Belorussia — had some 
first-hand knowledge of the life and culture of their non-Muscovite East Slavic 
counterparts. The vicissitudes of the turbulent decade had, in addition, provided 
some Muscovites with the linguistic and literary experiences and skills needed 
to broaden that new knowledge. 

Second, the Polish defeat, and successive evidences of the political might of 
Muscovy, turned the minds of Ukrainians and Belorussians, in a period of 
increasingly aggressive repression of their national and religious life in the 
Commonwealth, to Moscow as a potential ally and refuge. 

Third, a broad array of social and cultural processes, stimulated in signifi- 
cant measure by the successful restoration of the Muscovite political system 
and the subsequent very impressive economic growth, made Muscovites of var- 
ious social groups increasingly receptive to new external influences, including 
in the first instance those that emanated from the adjacent East Slavic lands. 

Most of these processes reached their culmination only after the middle of 
the century, but it is nonetheless possible to trace their early stages as a means 
of understanding how Muscovite attitudes toward other East Slavs changed 
from the apparent relative indifference I have posited to the much keener 
interest of the time of Aleksei Mikhailovich. 

It is not yet possible confidently to trace the evolution of that small group 
within the Muscovite nobility who, contrary to the long-standing boyar tradi- 
tion, were actively literate in Slavonic and other literary languages, involved in 
religious and cultural disputes, and relatively au courant as concerns the 
cultural life of Orthodox centres in the Commonwealth. But that such a group 
emerged shortly after the Smuta there is no doubt. The names of Ivan 
Khvorostinin, Semen Shakhovskoi and Ivan Katyrev-Rostovsky come 

Muscovite Perceptions of Other East Slavs 


immediately to mind, and it appears that their experiences at the court of the 
False Dimitrii and in subsequent years had much to do with their formation. 
The return of Filaret and his colleagues from a long exile clearly also played a 
role, one that has still not been fully explored. 

But while these individuals certainly were much more aware of cultural 
currents beyond Muscovite borders, and able to handle Polish and Slavonic 
texts from the Commonwealth, there are some caveats and paradoxical features 
to be noted in their reception of this new influence. First, we should note that, 
in this generation, Muscovite authors, even when translating from, let us say, 
texts produced in Ukraine, produced relatively pure Muscovite Slavonic, that is, 
they cleansed their translations of almost all evidences of their origin. One is 
stuck by this relative “purity” when comparing their work with texts from the 
latter half of the century, when, under the apparent influence of the massive 
emigration of Ukrainians and Belorussians, a kind of “Ukrainophilia” became 
almost a vogue. In this later period many texts, such as, for example, the later 
versions of works attributed to Andrei Kurbsky, became increasingly 
Ukrainized and Polonized with each editorial revision. One need not accept my 
hypothesis concerning the genesis and growth of the Ivan-Kurbsky “Cor- 
respondence” and related materials to acknowledge that the later texts of that 
corpus, which begins with Kurbsky’s First Letter and Ivan’s great First Letter, 
written in a Russian Slavonic almost free of Ukrainianisms, becomes 
increasingly “westernized,” to the point that one can hardly read Kurbskii’s 
“History” without some knowledge of literary Ukrainian of the period. 

Second, we should note the striking fact that Muscovite authors of the early 
seventeenth century, in cleansing their models and originals of Ukrainianisms, 
also seem quite systematically to have suppressed specific references to 
Ukrainian realia. The study of such matters is just beginning, but it seems 
clear, for example, from comparison of the thousands of lines that Khvor- 
ostinin, apparently, translated line-for-line from Ukrainian poetical collections 
(and for which he has been acclaimed as the “originator of Russian verse”) that, 
in addition to very careful deletion of lexical Ukrainianisms, he omits or 
changes numerous references to “Rus’,” to Ukrainian magnates — and even to 
St. Volodymyr of Kiev ! 8 

Third, in this first generation of educated Muscovite noblemen one notes a 
very mixed attitude toward the new learning that was emanating in increasingly 
potent waves — borne primarily by the printed book — from Kiev. Filaret, here, 
is our exemplar, and it must be said that we still cannot — or at least I 
cannot — fully understand his attitudes in these matters. On the one hand, he 
seems to have been staunchly anti-Catholic and suspicious of these “Kievan” 
books; on the other, he manifestly allowed— and even sponsored — the 
emigration of a large number of Ukrainian churchmen, beginning a trend that, 
under Nikon, was to exert a massive influence in Russian cultural life. 


Edward L. Keenan 

This emigration, as I have noted, was one of the aspects of the second long- 
range trend that so changed Russian attitudes and awareness of other East Slavs 
in the seventeenth century. Scholars have been aware since Kharlampovich’s 
great works of the massive influence of non-Muscovite East Slavs in Russian 
church life, and of the books that they brought with them, but I think that there 
are two aspects of this profoundly important process that, in the present 
context, call for comment. 

First is the fact that it was these immigrants, apparently, who taught 
Russians to think in new terms not only about Orthodoxy and cultural authen- 
ticity, but also about East Slavic unity; it was they who brought to Russia the 
irredentist and national-historical modes of thought that in later times became 
so “typically” Russian. I would go so far as to say that it was they, directly and 
indirectly, who revived the notion of the “Third Rome” and other sadly 
remembered myths. They were joined in this by another group, about which we 
need to learn a great deal more — the itinerant and expatriate Greeks, who had, 
of course, their own reasons for fostering the ambitions of a great Orthodox 
military and political power, and had themselves, in all probability, acquired 
their notions of East Slavic history and cultural identity during sojourns of 
greater or lesser duration in Ukraine, on their way to Moscow. 

The second component of this general wave of influence is, of course, the 
influx of printed texts from the Ukrainian and Belorussian presses that were so 
active in this period. This subject is by no means new or neglected, but it still 
requires a geat deal of study. We know, of course, that these books were every- 
where, in Solovki, in Tobolsk, in monastic and private libraries — but what is, I 
think, still insufficiently appreciated is the massive influence of these texts, in 
variously disguised Russian Slavonic translations, throughout the manuscript 
tradition. These translations were disguised, of course, because of the am- 
biguous official and unofficial attitude toward “Lithuanian” books, but they 
were avidly read and copied in very large numbers, both by those who recog- 
nized their origin and by those who did not. There are thousands of such copies 
that have not yet been properly identified and compared with their originals, 
and until that work is well begun we cannot assess the impact of this powerful 
new technology of cultural diffusion and the way in which Russian attitudes 
were gradually changed. 9 

Let me mention a single, rather pertinent example. The “History of the 
Eighth Council,” attributed to the “Klirik Ostrozsky” and printed in Ostrih in 
1598, obviously had a wide circulation in Muscovy in subsequent decades, al- 
though mostly considerably later than one might expect. Indeed, it is another of 
the paradoxes of our subject that Muscovites seem not to have been particularly 
deeply affected, at first, by the church union of 1596. Be that as it may, at some 
time, perhaps in the middle of the century 7 , the “History” was translated in a 
version that has been attributed to Ivan Khvorostinin, and it was independently 
retranslated a number of times throughout the century. At some fairly late date. 

Muscovite Perceptions of Other East Slavs 


a kind of Russian paraphrase was done, probably from the original, and 
attributed to Kurbsky (the earliest copy is ca. 1675). Now until we gather all of 
these variant translations, determine what they owe to the original and what to 
each other, establish the original Russian interpolations and glosses, and study 
their circulation and readership, we shall not really be able to speak of the 
evolution of Russian attitudes toward this critical matter of church union and 
the world-historical role of Russian and East Slavic Orthodoxy. 

I mentioned a third set of long-range processes, the general trends of social 
and cultural development of Muscovy, as a final factor in the evolution of ideas 
about other East Slavs. I have in mind particularly the role of non-Slavic 
foreigners, Catholics and Protestants, Danes, and Dutchmen and Scots, in 
Muscovite court and military circles in the second half of the century. It was 
these communities, together with the Bohemian and other Jesuits studied by 
Antonii Florovsky, who, together with the Ukrainian and Belorussian immi- 
grants, finally sensitized Russians to the cultural and confessional issues in the 
fast-changing and critical cultural turmoil of the 1670s and 1680s, issues that 
had so long dominated the lives of other East Slavs. Even then, however, I 
would point out that Muscovites were not so fully committed to the notion of 
East Slavic unity and historical identity as we might expect them to have been. 
I am struck, for example, that the capture of Polatsk, Vilnius and even 
ultimately Kiev did not seem to elicit an outpouring of national rejoicing and 
expressions of long-sought historical triumph among Muscovites. We should 
remember, for example, that it was not Muscovites, but the likes of Semen 
Polotsky who wrote the odes for such occasions, and that the “hero” of the ill- 
fated campaigns of the 1670s in Ukraine was Vasilii Golitsyn, a great friend 
and protector of Moscow Jesuits, and a noted lover of things Western. Whether 
he was motivated to any significant degree by historical notions of East Slavic 
common destiny and Orthodox unity remains, in my mind, an open question. 

I propose, then, an unorthodox and fundamentally exploratory hypothesis, as 
follows: in the century before — to take the date for convenience only — 1654, 
leading figures in the Muscovite political establishment, and to a different 
degree in the ecclesiastical establishment, were passing through a period of 
learning and development of the notions about East Slavic cultural history and 
relationships whose results, apparent only later, we wrongly attribute to them 
over the whole period. At the beginnings of the period, in the middle of the 
sixteenth century, only a precious few Muscovites had much of an inkling 
either about what was taking place in Ukraine or about any notion of shared 
historical experience. Around the time of the Smuta, when the cultural turmoil 
in Ukraine was at its height, Muscovite politicians came into meaningful 
contact for the first time — largely through chance encounters — with represen- 
tatives of the most important and dynamic Ukrainian elites that were influenced 
by the cultural revival. Even then, however, most Muscovites remained at first 
surprisingly ignorant and indifferent about the nature of the cultural and 


Edward L. Keenan 

national-historical struggle that was taking place. Even after the mid-century 
wars that ultimately led to the inclusion of vast amounts of Ukrainian and 
Belorussian territory into the Russian state, one looks in vain for substantial 
evidence that influential Muscovites were guided, in personal or official acts, 
by notions of East Slavic unity or common heritage. Moreover, until after the 
Smuta the most significant influence in Muscovy of the Ukrainian and 
Belorussian cultural-religious experience was felt in peripheral and non-elite 
areas, such as the terrain that eventually gave rise to the “Old Belief,” and in 
the “white” clergy generally, while the established church, on the one hand, and 
the political elite, on the other, were more influenced by a later wave of the 
most profoundly Catholicized and Polonized representatives of western East 
Slavic culture. 

I am not so mad as to fail to realize that these are somewhat questionable 
propositions; I shall not cling tightly to them. But I do think that they are well 
worth considering, and that in any case, even if eventually we must re-embrace 
the former mistress of our minds, the historiographic tradition, we must first 
test these or similar hypotheses. In order to dismiss them, reaffirm the tradition, 
and set our minds at ease, we must reconsider the base upon which that 
tradition rests in the light of what we know about Muscovite society. We must, 
in the first instance, restudy the abundant texts, identify their origins and 
evolution, and assess their influence. We must devote renewed attention to the 
old agenda of the philologists in order to be able to identify and analyze a great 
variety of translations, imitations and registers on the basis of their language. 
We must separate, analyze and ultimately re-integrate the vast and mysterious 
Old Believer tradition. We must once again reconsider the role of Ukrainian 
and Belorussian immigrants as cultural intermediaries and as bearers of new 
ideas about Slavic unity. 

We must, finally, consider Muscovite society not as a homogeneous and 
integrated “national” entity, but as a pre-modem society whose still distinct 
elites responded differentially to the cultural stimuli of the time, and in particu- 
lar to a new conception of the historical role and destiny of Muscovy as an East 
Slavic Orthodox society. In sum, we must set aside modem notions of nation, 
ideology and society, but apply modem social-science and humanistic tech- 
niques, in order better to understand, on its own terms, a complex and still 
obscure past reality. 


1. Here and below, by politics I mean the process of assigning and maintaining 
power, property, and status at court, and the associated foreign- and domestic- 
policy decision-making. I shall often use the term “politicians” to designate 

Muscovite Perceptions of Other East Slavs 


members of the small coterie of clans of cavalrymen — often called “the 
boyars” — who participated in that activity. 

2. For an interesting discussion of this aspect of the matter, see Omeljan Pritsak, 
“Kievan Rus’ and Sixteenth-Seventeenth-Century Ukraine,” in Ivan L. 
Rudnytsky, ed., Rethinking Ukrainian History (Edmonton, 1981), 1-28. 

3. I discuss this problem, from a slightly different point of view, in “Royal Russian 
Behavior, Style and Self-Image,” Edward Allworth, ed., Ethnic Russia in the 
USSR. The Dilemma of Dominance (New York, 1980), 3-16. 

4. One should mention here the traditional notion of the unifying role of Slavonic; in 
my view Slavonic played almost no role in the lives of the secular elite I am call- 
ing “Muscovite politicians.” Very few of them knew Slavonic at all, and almost 
none could write it; until the seventeenth century and the advent of the printed 
book there was for practical purposes no communication in any form of Slavonic 
between Muscovite and other East Slavic secular elites. The failure of Church 
Slavonic as a general cultural “lingua franca” is easy to document, and has to do 
with the highly unstable relations among vernaculars and languages of literary use 
in the various territories involved. The period with which we are dealing saw the 
emergence, in non-Muscovite East Slavic territory, of several literary languages 
based on Slavonic; texts in these languages, typically, became popular in 
Muscovy only after they had been translated into either Muscovite “plain style” or 
Muscovite Slavonic. 

5. It has long been the practice, of course, to impute to the demotic majority 
“patriotic” views on the basis of modern interpretations of the povesti i skazaniia 
(to use Platonov’s term) about the Time of Troubles. Such a practice, however, 
seems to me to lack sufficient justification, if only because the texts in question, 
still for the greater part of undetermined origin, remain ambiguous as concerns 
their original purpose and significance. Furthermore, such evidence as we do 
possess about such matters does not permit the conclusion that they expressed, or 
influenced, the thinking of the great illiterate mass of Muscovites. 

6. This dichotomy is not, of course, absolute, but it is significant in comparisons of 
the Muscovite elites with their contemporaries in the rest of Europe; the bounda- 
ries are limned by the contrasts between Slavonic and prikaz language, between 
the stress on kinship in the secular elite and its rejection by the ecclesiastical hier- 
archy, and between the military and monastic traditions. 

7. I have tried to open the discussion of this matter in “The Trouble of Muscovy: 
Some Observations upon Problems of the Comparative Study of Form and Genre 
in Historical Writing,” Medievalia et Humanistica. Studies in Medieval and 
Renaissance Culture, New Series, No. 5 (1974): 103-26. 

8. Compare, for example, Khvorostinin's texts as published in Letopis zaniatii 
Arkheograficheskoi kommissii, with the apparent originals, published in V. P. 
Kolosova and V. I. Krekoten, comp., Ukrainska poeziia. Kinets XVI pochatok 
XVII st. (Kiev, 1978), 115-36. 

9. One must regret that the great work of Vladimir Peretts, Istoriko-literaturnye 
issledovaniia i materialy (St. Petersburg, 1900), has not found imitators in recent 
times. Peretts sketched convincingly the paths of development of certain forms of 


Edward L. Keenan 

poetry from their Western origins through Ukraine to the “folkloric” imitations 
collected by nineteenth-century Russian philologists; similar work would, 
doubtless, elucidate parallel developments in other forms as well. 

Hans-Joachim Torke 

The Unloved Alliance: Political Relations 
between Muscovy and Ukraine 
in the Seventeenth Century 

The manifold relations between Russia and Ukraine in the seventeenth cen- 
tury were played out on at least three levels: official relations on the political, 
diplomatic and military level; semi-official relations in the ecclesiastical- 
pedagogical and commercial sectors; and unofficial relations concerned with 
spiritual and cultural influences. Both the latter complexes are related to the 
first and cannot be disregarded here, although this article focuses on political 
events and on the way in which they were understood by decision-makers. 

My purpose here is not to employ well-known and frequently consulted 
sources in order to elicit yet another interpretation of the Pereiaslav Agreement 
of 1654 or the character of relations between Muscovy and the Hetmanate in 
the ensuing period. Concerning Pereiaslav, there exist at least seven different 
interpretations (temporary alliance, personal union, real union, vassalage, 
protectorate, autonomy and incorporation), and in regard to the second topic, 
there is also a range of interpretations from full independence to complete in- 
corporation of the Cossack state. No Western scholar has yet written an account 
that goes beyond O’Brien’s monograph to take in the whole century. 1 

The question remains whether the period from the first contacts of the 
Dnieper Cossacks with Muscovy in the sixteenth century to the end of the 
Great Northern War in 1721, examined as a whole, yields a perspective on 
Muscovite policy that can be reconciled with the formula “Russian Imperialism 
from Ivan the Great to the Revolution.” 2 It may be recalled that the historical 
roots of Russian imperialism were discussed in the American Slavic and East 
European Review in the early 1950s. At that time, in the wake of political state- 
ments about Soviet foreign policy and letters to the editor of the New York 
Times by Russian and Ukrainian emigres, Oscar Halecki began a scholarly 
debate in which Nicholas V. Riasanovsky and Oswald P. Backus also took 
part. 3 Halecki interpreted the conquest of Novgorod by Ivan III as the first clear 
manifestation of Russian i mperialism and, naturally, applied the same conce pt 
to the Ukrainian problem, although he touched on the latter only briefly. 
Riasanovsky did not deny the fact of Russia’s expansion, but regarded it as a 
policy intended to counteract Polish expansion and wrote in this connection: “It 
is interesting to note that Moscow was at first reluctant to come to the aid of 
the Ukrainians, and that it took both the desperate appeals of the latter and the 


Hans-Joachim Torke 

decisions of its own Zemskii sobor to force the Moscow government to act.” 4 

Notwithstanding this discussion, the above-mentioned book on “Russian 
imperialism,” edited by Taras Hunczak, appeared two decades later. More than 
any other contributor to the volume, Henry R. Huttenbach applied the term 
“imperialism” to Muscovy, even though, in the strict historiographical sense, it 
should be reserved for the period prior to World War I. While W. Leitsch inter- 
preted Moscow’s actions in the light of policy considerations vis-a-vis Poland 
and Sweden, Huttenbach’ s remarks on Moscow’s policy toward Ukraine may 
serve to exemplify the way in which foreign policy is sometimes viewed with 
the hindsight afforded by developments in later centuries. 5 In contrast, this 
article will not maintain that Moscow deliberately planned from the beginning 
to defeat first the Poles, then the Swedes, and finally the Ottomans, or that the 
year 1654 was preconceived as a turning-point in East European affairs. No one 
would deny that, in the subsequent period, Muscovy tried more and more to 
gain a foothold in Ukraine, but it did so half-heartedly and hesitantly, and 
certainly not as part of a conscious effort at incorporation until the reign of 
Peter the Great. Whereas the aloofness of most of the Cossack leaders toward 
Moscow is a well-known fact, this article undertakes to show the hesitancy of 
the Muscovite government, whose motives have been of less interest to 
researchers than the often vacillating and “colourful” actions of the vanquished 
party. Accordingly, the thesis of this article is that the most conspicuous feature 
of Muscovite-Ukrainian relations during the seventeenth century was mutual 
reserve. Neither the desire for “fraternal union” on the Ukrainian side nor the 
drive toward “imperialism” on the Russian side was dominant, and this holds 
true not only for the relatively well-known period of 1648-54. 


Leaving aside the military expeditions of the administrator ( starosta ) of 
Cherkasy, Ostafii Dashkovych (1514-35), who marched with the Tatars on 
Novhorod Siversky in 1515 and on Muscovy in 1521, 6 it can be said that 
Ukraine came gradually into the Muscovite government’s field of vision in the 
second half of the sixteenth century. The urgent project of incorporating the 
central and northern Russian principalities, as well as the struggle against the 
Tatars in the east and south-east, postponed the overdue settlement with 
Lithuania for a long time. Only after the middle of the sixteenth century, when 
the completion of the defensive line ( zasechnaia cherta ) made possible an 
orderly defence of the southern frontier, and when the incorporation of Kazan 
(1552) and Astrakhan (1556) ensured peace in the East, could Ivan IV orient 
his policy toward the West. Moscow’s characteristic hesitation to move into the 
south-west was already apparent at the very beginning of this period: the tsar 
preferred to wage war against Livonia rather than to follow the advice of 
Adashev and other councillors to continue the Crimean campaign. The “wild 
steppe” ( dikoe pole) in the Don region was not secured as a territory. Instead, 

The Unloved Alliance 


its inhabitants — the East Slavic provincial (, gorodovye ) and service ( sluzhilye ) 
Cossacks — were put to work. Territorial ambitions in the direction of Ukraine 
were even less significant, although some contacts had already been established 
with the Dnieper Cossacks. 7 

These contacts began after the conquest of Astrakhan, when Ivan IV sent the 
secretary ( diak ) Rzhevsky with Cossacks from Putyvl to reconnoitre the Tatars 
along the Dnieper. Rzhevsky was aided by the famous Dmytro Vyshnevetsky 
(Wisniowiecki), who hoped to obtain Muscovy’s support for his plans 
regarding the Zaporozhian Sich. Vyshnevetsky, who had to conceal his contacts 
with the tsar from the Polish king, travelled to Moscow in 1557-8 and, in 
return for his oath “to serve Ivan faithfully until death” (pravdoiu i do svoei 
smerti), was granted the town of Belev, many villages in the Moscow area, and 
the sum of 10,000 rubles. 8 No lasting relations developed from this episode, 
which ended in 1561, but occasionally the Dnieper Cossacks provided their 
services. In the spring of 1577, for example, the tsar asked them to undertake 
an expedition against the Crimea and Kozliv, for which they were compensated 
with saltpetre and other products. 9 In the years that followed, an increasing 
number of Cossacks entered Muscovite service. 10 The leader of the revolt of 
1591-3, Hetman Kryshtof Kosynsky, was prepared to place the entire Za- 
porozhian army under Moscow’s command, but Fedor Ivanovich (i.e., Boris 
Godunov) refused his offer in the spring of 1593. 11 After the Oprichnina and 
the loss of the Livonian War, the Tsardom of Muscovy was too weak to engage 
in such adventures. Even so, the power of military command seems to have 
existed, for the Tsar “ordered” the army to wage war against the Crimea. 12 
During the disturbances of the second half of the 1590s, a good deal of money 
flowed from Moscow to Ukraine. 13 It must be noted that Muscovy did not take 
advantage of the revolts of the Dnieper Cossacks against Poland-Lithuania, 
which can be traced back to 1573. 

This reserve is easily explained by Muscovy’s respect for the might of the 
Rzeczpospolita, although the no less cautious Grand Dukes of earlier centuries 
had not shirked conflict with Lithuania during the “gathering of Russian lands.” 
The restoration of the old Rus’ would have been justified in any case, 
especially as the election of the tsar in 1598 showed that the time of the 
appanage principalities ( udely ) had finally passed and that the principle of the 
unity of the tsardom prevailed even during a change of dynasty. 14 Whether it is 
a matter of loss of the historical memory of Kievan Rus’ or of actual weakness 
is of no importance here: the Polish intervention during the Time of Troubles 
indicated the true balance of power. Incidentally, in this case the Cossacks 
fought on both sides, just as they did in the subsequent wars of the second 
decade of the seventeenth century. With the marauding Cossacks the Mus- 
covites encountered for the first time the more troublesome characteristics of 
their southern neighbors, especially as the spirit of revolt began to make itself 
felt on their own territory. The Bolotnikov revolt broke out in the Chemihiv 


Hans-Joachim Torke 

region in the autumn of 1606 and spread as far as Riazan. 15 

This revolt was crushed in a year, but Muscovy continued to observe the 
Ukrainian revolts of the first half of the seventeenth century without taking any 
action. 16 It availed the Zaporozhians little that, referring to their earlier services, 
they offered assistance to Mikhail Fedorovich in the spring of 1620: Petro 
Sahaidachny’s envoys were merely praised for the registered Cossacks’ official 
appeal to the tsar and given 300 rubles. They had, after all, employed the title 
of tsar, which the Poles considered Wladyslaw’s exclusive possession. Equally 
fruitless was the communication from the voevodas of Putyvl in the summer of 
the following year to the effect that some 50,000 Cossacks wanted to liberate 
Kiev and other towns from Polish rule and place them, as well as themselves, 
under the tsar’s authority. 17 In the following decades only a few Cossack bat- 
talions with their colonels or hetmans resettled along the Don, and a number of 
rebels fled from the Poles. 18 Since the Poles regularly demanded the return of 
the refugees, whom the Russians called perebezhchiki, and since their flight 
was clearly illegal under international law, Muscovy was intimidated. Its 
frontier voevodas were ordered to allow refugees to enter only in small groups 
so that they would not be noticed and thereby disturb the peace with the Rzecz- 
pospolita. Officially it was argued that the Polianovka peace treaty (1634) 
contained no reference to this problem and that no one had asked the refugees 
to come(!). 19 But how could the emigrants disturb the peace if the treaty did not 
even refer to them? In any case, the newcomers were equipped quite well, as 
they were needed for the defence of the Belgorod line, a fortification 300 versts 
in length whose construction had been undertaken in the mid- 1630s and was 
not completed until 1677. 20 

If, up to this point, it has been possible to interpret the Cossack refugee 
movement and the decision of some Cossack leaders to place themselves under 
Moscow’s authority either as a response to the exigencies of practical politics 
or as opportunism, in the 1630s these two phenomena began to be based on an 
awakening political consciousness. In 1632 the Cossacks, led by their Hetman 
Kulaha-Petrazhytsky (1631-2), addressed a petition to the Sejm requesting that 
they be admitted to the King’s election. This would have meant acceptance into 
the nobility, and therefore the senate rejected this proposed augmentation of the 
szlachta by 8,000 nobles. 21 It was a single step from this petition to the idea of 
a separate Cossack Ukrainian state, which materialized in 1648-54. This phase, 
too, is characterized by timid Muscovite policy. 

Although Bohdan Khmelnytsky recognized the sovereignty of the Polish 
crown only during the few intervals of peace, Aleksei Mikhailovich took no 
advantage of Ukraine’s six years of independence. What happened was simply 
that the refugees, now even more numerous, who saw no chance of being en- 
tered in the Rzeczpospolita’s register, were readily welcomed in Slobodian 
Ukraine ( Slobidska Ukraina). The welcome was extended in mid- 1649, when 
the tsar ordered the voevodas of Putyvl not only to observe Khmelnytsky and 

The Unloved Alliance 


developments between the Cossacks and the Poles, but above all to protect the 
refugees — from nobles down to boyars’ servants — from any harm. 22 However, 
Muscovy’s responses to Khmelnytsky’s appeals for help ranged from dilatory 
to negative. The future hetman had anticipated one reason for this attitude in 
the autumn of 1647, when he declared at the meeting of the starshyna in the 
“Grove of Chyhyryn” that he saw no other solution than co-operation with 
Muscovy and proposed to appeal to the tsar because they shared the same faith. 
Khmelnytsky acknowledged, however, that the Tsardom of Muscovy had been 
ravaged by the Poles in preceding years, had lost Smolensk and other towns to 
them, and had not regenerated its forces completely. “In such a condition it can 
hardly stand up for us.” 23 

Nevertheless, between 8 June 1648 and 3 May 1649, Khmelnytsky 
addressed seven letters to Muscovy and to the frontier voevodas asking for 
military assistance and offering the Cossacks’ services to the tsar, i.e., to attach 
them to his forces. 24 Aleksei Mikhailovich agreed only to the provision of grain 
and possibly weapons, 25 as well as to a more frequent exchange of envoys. He 
rejected any direct involvement in Ukraine or even the attachment of Cossack 
forces to his army. The tsar merely notified the Hetman on 7 August 1648 that 
he was not his enemy and that, contrary to rumours, he did not intend to ally 
himself with Poland against the Hetman. 26 Khmelnytsky attempted in vain to 
arrange interventions on his behalf by a number of individuals, including 
Patriarch Paisios of Jerusalem, who spent the first half of 1649 in Moscow. 27 In 
a letter of 13 June 1649 to the Hetman, the tsar finally mentioned the peace 
treaty with Poland as a reason for his attitude. He declared his willingness to 
accept the Cossacks if the king would release them, thereby placing the re- 
sponsibility for a decision on the Poles. 28 The Treaty of Zboriv of 8 August 
1649 29 gave the Cossacks a breathing space, but Aleksei Mikhailovich then 
became even more explicit in his instructions of 16 August 1650, which he sent 
with his envoy, Vasilii Unkovsky, who was travelling to Ukraine. The peace 
could not be broken “without reason” (bezo vsiakie prichiny ). 30 

The maintenance of peace with Poland was certainly a welcome, if not an 
entirely feigned, pretext for Muscovy to keep out of Ukrainian affairs. It is 
more likely that, as Khmelnytsky had assumed, the decisive factor was the 
tsardom’ s military weakness, which was consciously recognized when the 
Smolensk campaign of 1632-4 failed to bring the expected victory over the 
Rzeczpospolita. Nevertheless, almost two decades had passed since that time, 
and the Muscovite army had already been partially modernized along Western 
lines with the formation of the regiments of the new order (polki novogo 
stroia ). That Muscovy was now indeed in a position to defeat Poland and even 
to wage a two-front campaign for a time was soon to be demonstrated by the 
thirteen-year (second) Northern War. The reason for Muscovy’s hesitation is 
therefore to be sought primarily in the domestic situation. During the century of 
revolts, two major urban upheavals shook the country: the first took place in 


Hans-Joachim Torke 

the capital city in 1648, the second in Novgorod and Pskov in 1650. Between 
3 June and mid-October 1648 the government was virtually incapable of action, 
and the effects of the revolt were felt well into the following year. The fear that 
state servitors ( sluzhilye liudi ) and townspeople (posadskie liudi) would make 
common cause paralyzed the autocracy and influenced its actions in subsequent 
years. This was also true of its policies with regard to Novgorod and Pskov, 
whose location on the western border made war an imponderable risk. 

The tsar’s personality and the situation of the new dynasty may also have 
played a certain role. Aleksei Mikhailovich was relatively young (bom 1629) 
and his position decidedly weak, especially because of the affair involving his 
fatherly advisor, B. I. Morozov. Furthermore, another false pretender to the 
throne had laid his claim, the eleventh since the appearance of the first False 
Dimitrii and the most dangerous since the Time of Troubles. In reality an 
escaped clerk (podiachii ) from a Moscow central office (prikaz ) called Timofei 
Akundinov (variously spelled Akindinov, Ankudinov, Ankidinov), he pretended 
to be the grandson of Vasilii Shuisky and was kept in circulation by Moscow’s 
enemies. In 1646 the Poles sent him across the Moldau to the Sultan, from 
where he reached the Cossacks by way of Italy, Germany and Poland. It 
certainly did not help Khmelnytsky in pleading to the tsar for assistance that in 

1650 the Hetman refused the impostor’s extradition and evidently attempted to 
use him as a means of putting pressure on the tsar. In November Khmelnytsky 
banished him to Wallachia. 31 The importance of this episode should not be 
underestimated, for the Romanovs’ claim to the throne was not yet entirely 
uncontested. Still, it has been assumed that Ukraine was not annexed as early as 

1651 because of the disturbing news about “Timoshka.” 32 

Early that year it seemed as if Aleksei Mikhailovich would venture to take 
the long-deferred step. A meeting of the so-called Assembly of the State 
(Zemskii sobor ) was held at the end of January 1651. Its agenda included the 
Cossack appeal, but this item was preceded by a discussion of Poland’s treaty 
violations and of her abuse of the tsar’s title. 33 Indeed, these latter points 
constituted the main issue; it was not for nothing that Muscovy’s envoy in 
Warsaw had threatened the king a year previously that such an assembly would 
be convoked. This does not mean that the assembly had gained decision- 
making power. Like most assemblies of the state in the seventeenth century, it 
served only as a source of information for the government, but it could also be 
used very readily as an instrument of foreign policy. Unfortunately, only the 
vote of the clergy on 27 February 1651 has been preserved, but it may be as- 
sumed that the other groups expressed themselves with similar caution. In 
accordance with the government’s wishes, the admission of the Cossacks was 
made almost completely dependent on the attitude of the Poles. 34 This changed 
nothing in Muscovy’s relations with Ukraine. On 1 1 March 1651, Khmelnytsky 
addressed B. I. Morozov with a request for intercession— a futile gesture, as the 
latter had not regained the influence he exercised before the revolt of 1648. 35 

The Unloved Alliance 


Because of the deteriorating military situation, the Cossacks, who were hoping 
for a joint campaign against the Porte, made ever more urgent appeals through 
a whole series of envoys in 1651-2. Nevertheless, the Hetman, conscious of his 
equal status, remained self-confident. On 20 September 1651 he gave as- 
surances that the truce of Bila Tserkva, concluded two days previously, had 
changed nothing in his attitude to Muscovy. 36 

Although Kapterev has emphasized that the major role in bringing about 
union with Muscovy was played by the Greeks, who were also interested in a 
war against the Ottoman Turks, and especially by Patriarch Paisios of 
Jerusalem, 37 it seems that the tsar’s hesitant attitude toward Ukraine was actual- 
ly changed by the direct influence of the new Muscovite Patriarch, the tsar’s 
paternal friend Nikon. There is no direct evidence for this, as Nikon’s first 
friendly letter to Khmelnytsky is dated 14 May 1653, when the government’s 
positive decision was already two months old. 38 But the more forceful 
demeanour toward Poland, especially with regard to the unresolved question of 
the Kiev metropolitanate (see below), corresponds directly to the energetic 
policies of Nikon. As a promoter of rehellenization, he naturally listened to the 
Greek clergy. Characteristically enough, the whole problem was subsumed 
under the rubric of Muscovy’s concern for the protection of Orthodoxy. The 
talks which Khmelnytsky’ s envoy Ivan Iskra conducted in Moscow in the 
spring of 1652 resulted in a mere reaffirmation of the pledge that, if oppressed 
by the Poles, the Cossacks could resettle on Muscovite territory along the 
Donets or Medveditsa rivers, the farther from the border the better. 39 Muscovy 
was still very far from wanting to expand its territory. But after the failure to 
reach agreement between the Cossacks and the Poles on the religious issue, 
Khmelnytsky once again posed his oft-repeated question at the end of the year 
through his envoy, Samiilo Bohdanovych. 40 This time he did not immediately 
receive a negative answer: Nikon had taken up his appointment in mid-year. 
The decision was finally made during the tsar’s long consultation with the 
boyar duma, which lasted from 22 February to 14 March 1653. 41 

Obviously, Moscow did not feel rushed, and it was certainly in keeping with 
its traditional reserve in this matter that the decision was not communicated to 
the Hetman until 22 June 1653, after he had threatened union with the Ottoman 
Empire. 42 Previously, agreement had been reached on the convocation of an- 
other Assembly of the State and, for the time being, of a meeting restricted to 
members of the service class, who gathered on 25 May and earlier. 43 The 
townspeople were not invited until much later, on 1 October, as the financing 
of the war had to be debated. This time the votes were affirmative, for once 
again the government’s decision had already been made, and the assembly was 
only required to sanction it. 44 Again, the government made no haste. The 
envoys who had left for Poland on 30 April were expected to return in time for 
the meeting on 1 October, and actually returned on 25 September. V. V. 
Buturlin departed for Ukraine with the news on 9 October, 45 and war was not 


Hans-Joachim Torke 

declared on the Rzeczpospolita until 23 October. 46 It is well known that the ac- 
tual annexation of Ukraine was not carried out until January of the following 
year. These facts give rise to the strong impression that the question of the 
tsar’s title was much more important to the Muscovites than the Ukrainian 
problem, which was handled in such dilatory fashion. In the autumn of 1654, a 
Muscovite delegation in Vienna cited the question of the title as the sole reason 
for declaring war. 47 In any case, Muscovy would have preferred the simple 
resettlement of the Cossacks in Slobodian Ukraine to the incorporation of the 
Dnieper region. As late as the summer of 1653, the above-mentioned delegation 
visited Lviv to reconcile Poland with the Cossacks on the basis of the Treaty of 
Zboriv! 48 Even after the fact, Muscovy preferred to justify its action by citing 
the persecution of the Orthodox Church. No territorial claims were made with 
reference to the possessions of Kievan Rus’. 

The tsar now took “Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky and the entire Za- 
porozhian Army with the towns and lands. ..under his sovereign high hand,” 
according to the resolution of the Assembly of the State 49 which was ratified on 
8 (18 N.S.) January 1654 in Pereiaslav. 50 Two and one-half months later the 
“Articles of Petition of Bohdan Khmelnytsky,” which had been prepared by the 
Hetman(!), were approved in Moscow (21 March). 51 Despite the controversy 
aroused by research on this “treaty,” there is at least general agreement that it 
was not formulated perfectly and that the future points of dispute were 
therefore built in, so to speak. Yet it does appear extremely odd: here was a 
state that in previous centuries had incorporated principality after principality; 
whose rulers, from generation to generation, had refined their well-known 
treaties with principalities as instruments to promote the rise of Moscow, 
applying especially strict criteria for foreign relations and the collection of 
tribute with reference to the sovereigns who were to be bound by these treaties. 
Yet this very state refused until the last minute to take over the Kievan core 
area of old Rus’, and then, in 1654, acted with extreme negligence and 
clumsiness when the questions of the hetman’s foreign relations and the 
stationing of Muscovite voevodas in Ukrainian towns (i.e., tax collection) were 
at issue. Neither at Zboriv nor at Bila Tserkva had Khmelnytsky negotiated 
such extensive privileges for the Cossacks as in “his” articles. The explanation 
that Muscovy was weakened by the Cossacks’ flirtation with the Sultan is 
convincing only at first glance. It would hold true if Muscovy had had an 
overwhelming interest in the incorporation of Ukraine. As has been shown, 
however, this interest was weak, whether because of inertia or fear of Poland- 
Lithuania. One could more readily conclude that Muscovy was not susceptible 
to extortion and that, as a further consequence, the “treaty” was not negotiated 
skillfully enough because of ignorance or lack of interest. Not even the poor 
military situation in which the Cossacks often found themselves was exploited 
at the right time. 

The Unloved Alliance 


In practice this meant that during the Khmelnytsky period Ukraine was only 
nominally under Moscow’s control; it was in fact independent. Unfortunately, 
this difference between the document and the actual force of law has often been 
overlooked. The full text of the “articles” was never made public in Ukraine 
during Khmelnytsky’ s lifetime; they were known only in the form of 
Khmelnytsky’ s first draft. 52 Thus the Hetman was able to sign treaties with the 
Sultan, with Transylvania, and even with Sweden, which later found itself at 
war with Muscovy. 53 Compared with Khmelnytsky ’s excellent connections in 
the West, Muscovy seemed isolated. Kiev was the only place where a 
Muscovite voevoda was stationed, for the Hetman, who did not want to accept 
even a single voevoda “because of the turbulent times,” stated in 1657 that only 
this one had been agreed with Buturlin and that the income, which was not very 
great in any case, had to be used for the upkeep of the army and the foreign 
legations. 54 Instead, the tsar guaranteed the Zaporozhians their traditional forms 
of administration, including even the Magdeburg Law for Ukrainian towns. 

Khmelnytsky’ s defensiveness is characteristic of his new attitude after 1654. 
Previously he had insisted on an alliance with Muscovy, apparently thinking in 
terms of a federation defined by the concept of ancient Rus’ in a pan-Orthodox 
framework 55 and regarding his relationship with the tsar as one of service. 
Now, however, Khmelnytsky and most of his successors devoted their energies 
to maintaining their autonomy, even to the point of separation. Conversely, a 
greater interest in Ukraine can be detected from this point on the part of 
Muscovy. A commitment to maintain property and to establish a religious 
protectorate is particularly apparent in the policies of Aleksei Mikhailovich, al- 
though the previous reserve did not disappear entirely. Even when considering 
the second half of the seventeenth century, one cannot speak of a fundamen- 
tally new Muscovite policy. The following one and one-half decades 
demonstrate very clearly that the idea of “eternal subjection” ( vechnoe pod- 
danstvo ), on which Soviet historiography puts so much emphasis, was not taken 
literally even by Muscovy. 56 

Nevertheless, Aleksei Mikhailovich styled himself “Autocrat of all Great 
and Little Russia” ( vseia Velikiia i Malye Rusii samoderzhets ) as early as 
5 February 1654. 57 When a truce was negotiated with Poland in Vilnius in 
1656, it was explicitly stated that in the event of the tsar’s participation in a 
personal union following the death of Jan Kazimierz, Ukraine would not be 
considered part of the Rzeczpospolita, for it had become subject to the tsar. 58 
Muscovy held to this agreement and subsequently denied the rumour spread by 
the Poles that it intended to sacrifice Ukraine and return it to Poland for the 
sake of a lasting peace. 59 The tsar’s assumption of the role of sovereign 
followed rather automatically from the superiority of the traditional concept of 
autocratic dominion to the newly arisen Cossack statehood. It was by no means 
recognized at the time that, by incorporating Ukraine, the Tsardom of Muscovy 
had become Russia ( Rossiia ) and had laid the foundation for its later status as a 


Hans-Joachim Torke 

great East European power. Desire for such status was not at all evident. 

Financially, the new situation was a great burden to Muscovy, which had to 
provide Ukraine with a good deal of money, arms and grain. In 1654 the 
register was increased from 20,000 to 60,000 men because of the impending 
war with Poland, without the required list of names being made available to 
Moscow. Such a list would have made it possible to limit entry into the 
Cossack host once and for all. But Khmelnytsky, who did not intend any 
limitation, promoted the recruitment of peasants and of the petty bourgeoisie 
(. meshchane ), so that the number of Cossacks shot up to more than 100,000. 6 ° 
The tsar could do nothing about it, just as he was unable to guarantee his 
generous gifts of land in Ukraine. The members of the starshyna who received 
land in Ukraine from Aleksei Mikhailovich had to conceal their property rights 
at home; otherwise they would have had to fear for their lives. 61 The peasant 
masses had already shown a preference for Muscovy, seeing it as a haven from 
oppression by the Polish nobility. Because the tsar, unlike the king, could not 
guarantee property in land or peasants to the nobility, and thus could not even 
carry out his function as legislator, the Ukrainian peasants were saved from 
complete serfdom, which had just been introduced in Russia, for well over a 
century. 62 This fact also demonstrates the true effectiveness of the tsar’s 
sovereignty. From the beginning, Muscovy had failed to consolidate its posi- 
tion, so that the alliance with the Cossacks virtually broke down when the 
interests of the two sides proved incompatible. In 1656 Aleksei Mikhailovich 
declared war on Sweden, with which Khmelnytsky had been allied for six 
years, and shortly before his death the Hetman was again preparing to turn to 
the Ottomans. 63 

All these tendencies became stronger after the Hetman’s death. The tsar’s 
land grants in Ukraine were recognized only if they constituted an additional 
confirmation of the Hetman’s universals, while the actual awards of land were 
made even by regimental colonels. Muscovy tacitly recognized the 300,000 
Cossacks on the register 64 and completely lost control of the Zaporozhian Sich, 
which was only loosely bound to the Hetmanate. It allowed the new hetman, 
Ivan Vyhovsky, to be elected without previous consultation, and did nothing to 
prevent his negotiations with Poland and the Crimea. In May 1658, Buturlin, 
now voevoda in Kiev, reported this to Moscow and found it noteworthy “that 
nowhere in Ukraine are there any voevodas or soldiers of Your Majesty (the 
Tsar).” 65 Vyhovsky even intended to send all official Muscovite delegates 
home for the summer. Muscovy, for its part, attempted to station voevodas in 
some of the larger towns, and the autocratic tsar vested his hopes in groups of 
rebellious Cossacks. He could not prevent the Hetman’s defection (i.e., the 
Treaty of Hadiach with Poland). The Muscovite government cannot be said to 
have reacted with particular dispatch in this situation. Not until November 1658 
did G. G. Romodanovsky cross the Ukrainian border with 20,000 men, while 
A. N. Trubetskoi marched from Sevsk as late as March 1659. In June, 

The Unloved Alliance 


Muscovy’s 100,000-man army suffered a crushing defeat at Konotop. What 
later saved the Russian presence in Ukraine was by no means a more energetic 
policy, but dissension among the Cossacks themselves, who paid the price of 
Ukraine’s partition into Polish and Muscovite spheres of influence. 

Afterwards, Muscovy tried to regain a foothold in Left-Bank Ukraine by 
trickery: in 1659 Trubetskoi presented the new Hetman, Iurii Khmelnytsky 
(1659-62), with articles which he identified as those of the old “Khmel” of 
1654. Point five, however, which concerned the Cossacks’ independence in 
foreign policy, was missing. 66 This was the first important step toward actual 
incorporation, but it was only one step. Moreover, it remained only theoretical, 
for the “articles,” which had been accepted because of Muscovy’s military 
pressure, created so much discontent that Iurii Khmelnytsky allied himself with 
Poland and the Muscovite army was once again defeated (at Chudniv). 67 At the 
end of 1662, when he was about to conclude his reign and enter a monastery, 
this hetman, too, warned against an alliance with either Muscovy or Poland and 
advised one with the Ottoman Empire 68 It may have been a consolation to 
Muscovy that Poland, too, had its difficulties with the Right Bank (e.g., under 
Hetman Pavlo Teteria [1663-5]). Not until the de facto partition of 1663 did 
the tsar find a loyal follower in Hetman Ivan Briukhovetsky (1663-8), who 
slavishly called himself “the most servile Hetman-footstool of the throne of His 
Most Noble Tsarist Majesty” ( ego presvetlogo tsarskogo velichestva prestola 
nizhaishaia podnozhka-getman ), and whose rule brought administrative and 
fiscal benefits for Muscovy. But even at this time one cannot yet speak of the 
establishment of the voevoda system. The appearance of voevodas triggered 
rebellions in Chemihiv, Pereiaslav, Nizhyn, Poltava, Novhorod Siverskyi, 
Kremenchuk, Kodak and Oster; the Cossack authorities therefore continued to 
function as an administration. On the other hand, Muscovy refused to invest 
any more money: the Cossacks, whose distinction from the rest of the popu- 
lation continued to fluctuate, no longer received monetary salaries, but had to 
live off their land. In order to strengthen his position, Briukhovetsky had to go 
to Moscow in 1665 and personally request military and financial assistance. 
The fact that the first Hetman who travelled to the capital city was promoted to 
the rank of boiar and married a Dolgorukova on this occasion, and that the 
members of his General Staff ( heneralna starshyna ) were declared nobles 
(dvoriane), did not increase his popularity at home. 69 The rebellion against him, 
which broke out in the following year, spread over almost the whole Left Bank 
by the beginning of 1668 and was also fueled by discontent with the Treaty of 
Andrusovo (1667), which was interpreted as a betrayal of the Cossacks. Nor 
did it help Briukhovetsky that, in the end, he turned against Muscovy. 

It is more than astonishing that the tsar did not succeed in establishing his 
authority more strongly in Ukraine with the assistance of a hetman who was 
initially loyal to Moscow. Or did the government continue to regard this area as 
negligible? Those in power certainly stood aloof from Ukraine at this time. The 


Hans-Joachim Torke 

voevoda of Rzhevsk, B. M. Khitrovo, who was favourably disposed to Poland, 
was the first to regard the annexation of Ukraine as superfluous. 70 It was even 
more important that the guidelines for foreign policy were determined by A. L. 
Ordin-Nashchokin, who was convinced that the Cossacks were detrimental to 
the state. As Platonov showed, Ordin-Nashchokin was the first statesman of old 
Russia who shared responsibility for decisions with the tsar. 71 Since Muscovy’s 
relations with Ukraine resembled foreign relations even after 1654 (legations 
with instructions, letters and relations), they came initially under the juris- 
diction of the Foreign Office (posolskii prikaz) and, after 31 December 1662, 
under that of the Office for Little Russia (prikaz Maloi Rossii, Malorossiiskii 
prikaz ), which oversaw everything from the import of religious books to trials 
of tobacco smugglers. 72 On 17 June 1667, relations with Ukraine were again 
transferred to the Foreign Office, which was responsible for Right-Bank 
Ukraine in any case. Thus Ordin-Nashchokin, who had become head of the 
Foreign Office four months previously, took charge of Ukrainian affairs as 
well. This turn of events can only be explained by the bureaucratic re- 
organization, for Ordin-Nashchokin’ s pro-Polish attitude and opposition to 
“Muscovite Ukraine” were well known. He had been prepared to break all ties 
with the Cossacks as early as 1658. “Unless we abandon the Cossacks,” he 
wrote in a report of 1667, “no lasting peace with Poland can be achieved, and 
the Cossack towns taken from the Poles bring us no gains, but only great 
losses.” 73 

If the Left Bank remained with Muscovy (while the Right Bank was pre- 
maturely abandoned) in the Treaty of Andrusovo, which was negotiated by 
Ordin-Nashchokin, and if Kiev was added, then this was certainly due to 
Aleksei Mikhailovich himself. There was some foundation to the rumours 
circulating among the Cossacks, which Briukhovetsky believed as well, to the 
effect that Ordin-Nashchokin had bartered them away to Poland. Thus, at the 
official announcement of the treaty, the Muscovite government prudently 
concealed the fact that Kiev was to be returned to Poland in two years. Never- 
theless, the Hetman came to know of this and became even more distrustful 
when, in the autumn of 1667, Ordin-Nashchokin prevented his envoys from 
obtaining an audience with the tsar. 74 This explains Briukhovetsky’ s about-face, 
which he executed by means of secret negotiations with the Right-Bank 
Hetman, Petro Doroshenko (1665-76). 

It does not speak well for Ordin-Nashchokin’ s knowledge of Ukraine that 
the crisis which began in February 1668 took him completely by surprise. 
Neither does the fact that the mediators and messengers whom he selected for 
his communications with the Cossacks were basically opposed to him: Bishop 
Metodii Fylymonovych of Mstsislav, Metropolitan Iosyf Neliubovych-Tukalsky 
of Kiev, and the archimandrite of the Kiev Cave Monastery, Inokentii Gizel. 
All three were afraid of being subordinated to the Patriarch of Moscow. It was 
already too late to avert the rebellion when Moscow offered to revise the decree 

The Unloved Alliance 


concerning the voevodas in Ukraine, more or less as compensation for the Kiev 
clause. 75 This willingness to reduce the degree of its administrative sovereignty 
demonstrates once again how little the government cared to bring about a true 
integration of Ukraine when there was a conflict of interest with Poland. At that 
time, Aleksei Mikhailovich was eagerly pursuing a plan to make his son 
Aleksei a candidate for the Polish throne and to bring about a Russo-Polish 
union. If Moscow had given in on the religious question, Right-Bank Ukraine 
would have become part of the Russian Empire then and there, one hundred 
years before the first partition of Poland. But there was no overwhelming desire 
to possess all of Ukraine: the difficulties on the Left Bank alone were 
formidable enough. Muscovy’s voevodas and garrisons remained only in Kiev, 
Chemihiv and Nizhyn, not even retaining authority over local justice and 
administration. This situation prevailed after the rebellion until the end of the 

Ordin-Nashchokin’ s incompetence in Ukrainian affairs had become clearly 
apparent. As early as January 1667, Aleksei Mikhailovich began partially to 
ignore his “chancellor” in these matters, and in March, upon the election in 
Hlukhiv of Demian Mnohohrishny (1669-72) as Hetman by the grace of 
Muscovy, the tsar let the Cossacks know that Kiev definitely would not be 
returned to Poland after the agreed two years. 76 At the same time, on 9 April 
1669, A. S. Matveev took over the Office for Little Russia, which was com- 
pletely incorporated into the Foreign Office on 22 February 1671, and thus 
continued to be headed by the new “chancellor,” Matveev, after Ordin-Nash- 
chokin’ s complete retirement at the beginning of 1671. Matveev had partici- 
pated in several missions to Ukraine and had an excellent knowledge of 
conditions there. This was important to Moscow during the troublesome period 
that witnessed the Razin revolt, the independent policies of Doroshenko, and 
Mnohohrishny’ s decision to oppose the tsar, who had him sentenced to death 
for this in 1672 and then banished him to Siberia immediately before the 
planned execution. Mnohohrishny was betrayed by his own starshyna — an 
indication of the tensions that would develop in later decades between the 
Hetmans and the growing upper stratum of landowners that still lacked the 
legal documents required for noble status. The increasing importance of the 
starshyna corresponded to the waning of internal Ukrainian autonomy, much to 
Moscow’s advantage. 77 Matveev’s takeover of the Office for Little Russia 
marked the inauguration of a more energetic policy toward Ukraine — the 
second step toward the consolidation of the relationship between the two 

As part of this policy, the new Hetman, Ivan Samoilovych (1672-87), was 
elected, for the sake of security, on Muscovite territory (between Konotop and 
Putyvl) at the end of May 1672, once again with the aid of Romodanovsky, and 
his powers were further limited. He was the first to stay at the top for a longer 
period of time — one and one-half decades. Most importantly, Muscovy began 


Hans-Joachim Torke 

an active struggle for Right-Bank Ukraine two years later, thereby becoming 
involved in its first war with the Turks (1677-9), after having stayed clear of 
Western alliances for centuries. However, this first twinge of expansionist 
ambition was transitory. The new tsar, the sickly Fedor Alekseevich, did not 
hold out very long. He pulled back to the Left Bank in 1679 and arranged a 
settlement with the Sultan two years later in Bakhchysarai. It could be said that 
the earlier reservations with regard to the Left Bank were now applied to the 
Right Bank, for there is no doubt that this sparsely populated and partly 
desolate area could easily have been taken from the Ottomans or, later, from 
the Poles. 

In any event, for Left-Bank Ukraine Samoilovych’s hetmancy was a time of 
consolidation, with a simultaneous acceptance of Moscow’s sovereignty. This 
was all the easier because there were no remaining difficulties with the 
Rzeczpospolita. In 1685, the hetman failed to persuade Moscow to annex the 
Right Bank, just as he had already been refused permission in 1679 to extend 
the borders of the Hetmanate to Slobodian Ukraine, to which many refugees 
had come from the Right Bank during the 1660s and 70s. On the other hand, 
his suggestion of the same year to subordinate the Kiev Metropolitanate to the 
Moscow Patriarchate was carried out with alacrity. Samoilovych thus enabled 
his relative, the bishop of Lutsk, Count G. Sviatopolk-Chetvertynsky (1685— 
90), to occupy the metropolitan’s chair. 78 In 1686, the Treaty of Moscow 
brought the final incorporation of Kiev and the Zaporozhian Sich, but also the 
renunciation of the Right Bank of the Dnieper, thus setting the capstone on 
Polish-Muscovite relations. Samoilovych, too, ended his days in Siberia, also 
delivered up by his officers, because Moscow needed a scapegoat for the failure 
of its first expedition to the Crimea (1687). 

During the return of this expedition, V. V. Golitsyn had I. Mazepa ( 1 687— 
1709) elected as the new hetman at the Kolomak council in mid- 1687. The 
“articles” ratified on this occasion, which, in contrast to the earlier “articles,” 
scarcely retained the character of a treaty, further limited the rights of the 
hetman in favour of Moscow and the starshyna , 79 At the same time, the 
customs barriers between Muscovy and Ukraine were lifted. Mazepa came from 
the Polish service, was a stranger on the Left Bank, and had ingratiated himself 
with Moscow by his reports on Doroshenko and Samoilovych in 1674. 80 
Residing in Moscow in 1689, he managed the transition from Sofia to Peter the 
Great superbly, but he was just as consistent — and this was due to an honest 
concern for the fate of Ukraine — in turning from the latter to Stanislaw 
Leszczyriski after 1705, and subsequently to Charles XII. The motives for 
Ukraine’s secession are to be found in Peter’s stricter policies, which were 
manifested — to give one example — by the fact that now, for the first time, 
money flowed from Ukraine to Moscow, once the tsar had separated the 
hetman’s income and expenditures from those of the army. Peter had no more 
interest in the Right Bank than his predecessors. 81 The actual incorporation of 

The Unloved Alliance 


Ukraine followed the conclusion of the Great Northern War. Even by the time 
of Ivan Skoropadsky (1708-22), “articles” were no longer ratified, and with the 
decree of 29 April 1722 — the third step toward the limitation of Cossack 
autonomy — General S. Veliaminov was sent to Hlukhiv as head of a board of 
control, over the Hetman’s protests. Out of this board developed the Little 
Russian College ( Malorossiiskaia kolegiia), patterned after the former Central 
Office, 82 but without the tardiness of response and allowances for the freedom- 
loving Cossacks that had marked the whole second half of the seventeenth 

This response to Mazepa’s “betrayal” was unquestionably more appropriate 
to an absolutist state; indeed, Moscow’s steadily harsher policy toward Ukraine 
can even be seen as a measure of the development of Russian absolutism, 
whose provenance was Western. 

Perhaps the tsars’ attitude can be made more comprehensible by examining 
Moscow’s seventeenth-century image of Ukraine and the Cossacks, i.e., 
Ukraine’s significance for the Tsardom of Muscovy. 


When a seventeenth-century Muscovite thought of Ukraine, two associations i 
probably came to mind. Ukraine was the home of a few, mostly clerical, 
educators, the source of certain innovations, and thus a gateway to the West, j 
i.e., a place of intellectual unrest. It was also one of the homelands of the 
Cossacks, the starting point of many rebellions and the refuge of escaped 
peasants, i.e., a place of social unrest. 

To begin with the second point: the Muscovite government generally 
ignored the fact that Ukraine also had a non-Cossack population, especially as 
the tsar only negotiated with the hetman. Thus, the Dnieper Cossacks represen- 
ted Ukraine, and its growth during the second half of the sixteenth century was 
essentially due to the slowly increasing wave of emigration from the core 
territories of Poland-Lithuania and Muscovy — a consequence of economic 
change. Once the colonization of the interior had been completed and a service 
nobility created, the governments of both states wanted to gain control of the 
peasant serfs — Zygmunt August by means of the land reform of 1557 and 
Ivan IV by his state reforms of the 1550s, as well as the land survey. But the 
increasing bondage only helped provoke a mass peasant exodus, which began 
toward the end of the century. 83 From Podolia to the Volga, Cossackdom stood 
for a revolutionary social program, 84 especially when discontent began to mani- 
fest itself in rebellions, first in Poland and then, beginning with Bolotnikov’s 
revolt, also in the Tsardom of Muscovy. However much Moscow took 
advantage of an army that served almost free of charge for the defence of its 
frontiers, it regarded the “wild steppes” ( dikoe pole), especially Ukraine, with 
great concern, especially after the Time of Troubles, a traumatic experience 
whose effects were felt throughout the seventeenth century. This ambivalent 


Hans-Joachim Torke 

attitude can be detected in the decrees on runaways and seems to have been 
inherent in the peasant legislation, for the government’s hesitation in ratifying 
the extended time limit for the recovery of fugitive serfs ( urochnye leta) before 
1649, which had been requested by the nobility, was certainly related to the fact 
that an expansion of the army in the south was not unwelcome. 

After the enactment of the Ulozhenie, the peasants did not cease their 
exodus, even though they were legally bound to the soil. In fact, the exodus 
increased during the war of 1654-67. The ambivalence noted previously 
reappeared in the decrees on the return of runaways, especially with respect to 
Ukraine, for the “wild steppes” were now more nearly in Moscow’s grasp. 
Accordingly, the “articles” contained demands for the return of runaways, and 
at the beginning of the war Aleksei Mikhailovich even had ten runaways 
hanged to set an example. 85 However, the more the significance of the old 
noble levy ( opolchenie ) decreased because of the introduction of the “regiments 
of the new order,” and the less attention had to be paid to the service nobility, 
the more lenient the peasant legislation could become. The deadlines for the 
return of runaways were continually extended. On 5 March 1653, the due date 
was that decreed in the Ulozhenie , but in 1656 it was that decreed in 1653; in 
1683, for example, it was that decreed in 1675, and between 1684 and 1698 the 
punishment of runaways was suspended and cancelled four times. 86 Thus, in 
practice the government reintroduced deadlines to serve its own interests. 

If the Muscovite authorities were ambivalent, to say the least, about the 
problem of peasants and Ukraine, it is easy to imagine the desperate rage that 
the rebellions aroused in them. Their determination to combat the rebellions 
originating in the south is so self-evident that any elaboration on it would be 
superfluous. The Cossacks, with their anarchic conception of freedom, were an 
example to peasants and townsmen alike. It is no accident that the century of 
the Ukrainian problem was also a century of revolt, termed a “rebellious time” 
( buntashnoe vremia ) by contemporaries. 

But perhaps Cossack ideals also had a less radical influence on the Tsardom 
of Muscovy. Apart from rebellions, the period after 1598 was generally marked 
by an awakening social consciousness. Beginning in the 1620s, collective 
petitions were presented on behalf of whole social groups or regions, and 
during the rebellion of 1648 there were even joint petitions from two social 
groups, the nobility and the townsmen. Also, the traditional Assemblies of the 
State assumed a new political character during the Time of Troubles and in 
1648-9. 87 It is not noted in the sources that the social unrest stirred up by the 
Cossacks served as an incentive, but this can be assumed. A little of this is ap- 
parent in the volatile polemics published by eyewitnesses to the Time of 
Troubles during the second and third decades of the century. What could have 
been the most subversive, if not contagious, influence was the Cossack practice 
of holding elections. It is true that elections had been an old legal institution on 
Russian territory as well, and that by the mid-sixteenth century Ivan IV had 

The Unloved Alliance 


established locally elected administrations by fiat, but never had there been as 
many governing bodies elected as during the Time of Troubles, and it is well 
known that at times the army’s Grand Council of War functioned as the 
government. Never before had a tsar been elected. The matter-of-fact (though 
not, of course, “democratic”) fashion in which the first election was conducted 
in 1598, and most particularly the election of 1613, which was carried out with 
greater participation of provincial delegates, cannot be explained solely by the 
example of other states. Although this is pure speculation, there do exist several 
slight indications of the impression made by the Cossack administration. 

During the Bolotnikov revolt, a contemporary described the territory af- 
fected by it as follows: “in every town the Cossacks, who emerged from the 
slaves ( kholopy ) and peasants, have again increased in numbers, and in every 
town they make [i.e., elect] their otamans.” 88 Awareness of Cossack freedoms 
certainly spread in other ways as well. Their attractiveness is very clearly 
expressed in a document that dates from the end of the era under consideration. 
During their rebellion of 1682, the Muscovite Streltsy made a demand in their 
political programme of 6 June for the establishment of self-governing bodies to 
be known as krugi (circles), whose elected delegates were to be responsible to 
the Streltsy. These functionaries were then to present the wishes of the Streltsy 
to “their tsar,” who would be obliged to heed them. 89 The explicit reference to 
Cossack models is further illuminated by the fact that at the end of 1682 and 
the beginning of 1683 the service registry ( razriad) explicitly prohibited the 
Streltsy, who had been banished to various towns after the rebellion, from 
conducting meetings in the fashion of the Cossack organs of self-government. 90 
If elections and self-government are indicators of heightened political aware- 
ness, then the Tsardom of Muscovy is indebted to Ukraine, among other 
sources, for a century of stimuli to social activity, which was then stifled by the 
development of absolutism. In any case, the government had long had good 
reason to regard Ukraine as a trouble spot to be treated with suspicion and kept 
at arm’s length. 

This was also the case with other imports from Ukraine, not only goods such 
as tobacco and vodka, which were smuggled across the border despite a 
prohibition (as was salt in the opposite direction), 91 but also intellectual and 
cultural influences. The origins of this chapter in Russo-Ukrainian relations 
date back to the year 1572, when the first Russian printer, Ivan Fedorov of 
Moscow, settled in Lviv, and the products of his print-shop began to find their 
way back to Muscovy. Soviet researchers have documented in considerable 
detail the travels of individual monks, artists, teachers and others between 
Muscovy and Ukraine. However, this provides no grounds for considering the 
“reunification” ( vossoedinenie ) of 1654 particularly predestined, and the 
cultural exchange was by no means equal: rather, the influence proceeded from 
south-west to north-east, 92 especially when the customs duty on Ukrainian 
publications was lifted soon after 1654. In reality, this initial appearance turned 


Hans-Joachim Torke 

out to be a Trojan horse. 

In this connection, relations within the Orthodox church, which had been 
restored in 1622, are of great significance. 93 They consisted mainly of requests 
for Moscow’s assistance against the church union, as well as of the influence of 
Ukrainian brotherhoods and their schools. However, it was a large step from 
the suggestion made by Metropolitan Iov Boretsky (1620-31) in 1624 that 
Ukraine be united with Muscovy 94 to its actual realization, which was wel- 
comed especially by the lower clergy after 1654, while the upper clergy feared 
the threat of subordination to the Moscow patriarchate, which became a reality 
after 1685. Metropolitan Silvestr Kossov (Sylvestr Kosiv) (1647-57) objected 
with particular vehemence to the union of churches. However, quite independ- 
ently of the political act of 1654, the church was overwhelmed by an 
intellectual shock that signified the end of the Old Russian era. The Kiev 
brotherhood, modelled upon the Western Ukrainian brother- hoods which had 
been in existence since the fifteenth century, was established in 1615. Under 
the leadership of Metropolitan Peter Mohyla (1633^16), the “Ukrainian school” 
developed an original interpretation of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. 
Its influence penetrated Moscow, the center of Orthodoxy, producing a crisis 
there. However much Patriarch Nikon may have desired the incorporation of 
Kiev, his successors, who were opposed to Latinizing tendencies, could not 
have been pleased by the fact that the Ukrainian theologians, who now came to 
Muscovy in increasing numbers, clashed with the “Greek tendency” promoted 
by Nikon. The Kievan influence became equivalent to that of the West in the 
spheres of religion, education, literature, art and crafts. 95 Although there was 
scarcely any more opposition to secular Western culture in the second half of 
the century, the clergy had to defend itself for a long time against charges of 
“heresy,” as the indictments and sentences of the 1690s demonstrate. Patriarch 
Ioakhim demanded that the Kiev Metropolitan Varlaam Iasynsky (1690-1707) 
formally declare his acceptance of the doctrines of the Russian church, going so 
far as to threaten the reluctant Iasynsky with an ecclesiastical tribunal. 96 The 
rise of absolutism did not supress this conflict. Instead, the problem was solved 
by Peter the Great’s radical Westernization, whose scope was far greater than 
that of the earlier Ukrainian influences, as well as by the neglect of religion 
during the early Enlightenment. 


Thus, there were sufficient political and ideological grounds for reservations 
about establishing too close a bond between Ukraine and the Tsardom of 
Muscovy. Ordin-Nashchokin’s objections, to which reference was made earlier, 
become even more understandable in retrospect. His example shows that 
reservations concerning Ukraine could be expressed even by one who was 
otherwise open-minded about the West. In this respect, as in many others, he 
turned out to be a forerunner of Peter the Great, whose attention was also 

The Unloved Alliance 


directed more toward the north-west. Even greater reservations were held by 
the conservative Muscovites, whose static thinking had no place for Cossack 
freedoms or the Magdeburg Law, for Silvestr Medvedev’s conception of tran- 
substantiation or for free-flowing architectural forms (the so-called Cossack 
Baroque). The history of Russo-Ukrainian relations has been called “essentially 
a chain of misunderstandings,” because the law and freedom of the Cossacks 
constituted a breach of faith and betrayal for the Muscovites. 97 The term “chain 
of mutual distrust” probably fits the situation even better. A characteristic ex- 
pression of this view is Peter the Great’s opinion that all Hetmans from 
Khmelnytsky to Mazepa had been traitors. 98 So is a statement made in 1658 by 
Aleksei Mikhailovich, who wrote to his friend Ordin-Nashchokin under the 
impact of Vyhovsky’s actions: “It is impossible to trust the Cossacks. They 
cannot be believed, for they sway like a reed in the wind, and, if necessary, the 
Russians should immediately sign a peace treaty with the Poles and Tatars.’' 99 

It was this mutual distrust that made the act of 1654 an alliance unloved by 
both parties. In contrast to “misunderstanding,” the term “distrust” implies an 
active element. Until 1648 at the latest, Moscow’s behaviour was indeed more 
instinctive than consciously reserved. In the following period, only aversion can 
explain the fact that the Tsardom of Muscovy, which overcame even the Rzecz- 
pospolita, did not enforce its rights in Ukraine with greater determination. 
Incorporation in the true sense of the word occurred only in the eighteenth 
century. It is true that the act of 1654 did not remain quite so nominal as that of 
1656 concerning Moldavia, which used very similar terminology, but Moscow 
achieved true “reunion” (Kostomarov’s term) only gradually, by the steps taken 
in 1659 (limitation of Ukraine’s independence in foreign affairs) and 1672 
(Matveev’s takeover of the Foreign Office), as well as the events of the Great 
Northern War of 1700-21. Until 1672, there was a latent willingness on Mos- 
cow’s part to release the Cossacks from “eternal servitude,” and the annexation 
of Ukraine was by no means perceived as an epoch-making event. After 
slipping into its new role rather unwillingly, the Tsardom of Muscovy became 
the Russian Empire without at first intending to do so, for essentially it had 
only concluded a military and defensive alliance with the Cossacks, not even 
with Ukraine, which existed only as a territory in the environs of Kiev, but with 
Little Russia. Even after 1672, the eminently feasible conquest of the Right 
Bank of the Dnieper was contemplated only in passing. Ideologically speaking, 
this general reservation about conquest corresponded to the status inherent in 
the doctrine of the “Third Rome,” to which any idea of expansionism and 
“imperialism,” even of mission, was alien. 100 

The change of attitude toward Ukraine began with the fall of the “Third 
Rome” caused by the schism of 1667 and with the slow acceptance of Western 
rationalism. Moscow’s grip became stronger under the influence of the ab- 
solutist doctrine of the sovereign’s exclusive power in the state. There was no 
longer a place for autonomous forces, and this meant the end not only of 


Hans-Joachim Torke 

Ukraine’s political autonomy, but also of her domineering intellectual influence 
on central Russia, which was yielding pride of place to St. Petersburg in any 
event. However, before Ukraine was absorbed by Russian state centralism, it 
played an important role for the Tsardom of Muscovy for almost seven 
decades, accelerating the latter’s initiation into the modem era. In so doing, 
Ukraine tragically lost her significance. Her actual ruina occurred not after 
Khmelnytsky’s death, but in the eighteenth century. 

Translated by Gisela Forchner 
and Myroslav Yurkevich 


1. C. B. O'Brien, Muscovy and the Ukraine. From the Pereiaslav Agreement to the 
Truce of Andrusovo, 1654-1667 (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1963). 

2. See Taras Hunczak, ed., Russian Imperialism from Ivan the Great to the 
Revolution (New Bmnswick, N. J., 1974). 

3. O. Halecki, “Imperialism in Slavic and East European History,” American Slavic 
and East European Review (ASEER) XI (1952): 1-26; N. V. Riasanovsky, “Old 
Russia, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe,” ASEER XI (1952): 171-88; O. P. 
Backus, “Was Muscovite Russia Imperialistic?” ASEER XIII (1954):522-34. For 
reprints of the three articles, see Die Anfange des Moskauer Staates, ed. P. 
Nitsche (Darmstadt, 1977), 272-339. 

4. N. V. Riasanovsky, op. cit., 313. Backus, in his article, was mainly concerned 
with the fifteenth century, but generally criticized Halecki for not defining 
imperialism, which Backus considered an inappropriate term for the period in 

5. H. R. Huttenbach, “The Origins of Russian Imperialism” in Hunczak, ed., Russian 
Imperialism, 18-44; idem, “The Ukraine and Muscovite Expansion,” ibid., 
167-97. Cf. W. Leitsch, “Russo-Polish Confrontation,” ibid., 131-66. It is also 
O’Brien’s view that the tsar wanted to “encroach upon Ukrainian sovereignty” 
from the very beginning. O’Brien alleges raison d’etat (which was completely 
alien to Muscovite ideology) and a desire for territorial gain (which cannot be 
derived from the sources) {Muscovy and the Ukraine, 127ff.). 

6. N. Karamsin, Geschichte des russischen Reiches (Riga, 1825), 7:57, 86. 

7. The first reports about Cossacks in the Dnieper region date back to 1492. See 
K. Pulaski, Stosunki Polski z Tatarszczyzng. od polowy XV w., vol. 1 (Warsaw, 
1881), no. 24. At first the Cossacks were a mixture of Tatars and Slavs, with the 
latter gaining the upper hand during the first half of the sixteenth century. See 
G. Stockl, Die Entstehung des Kosakentums (Munich, 1953), 152. 

8. Polnoe Sobranie Russkikh Letopisei (PSRL) (St. Petersburg, 1904), 13, 1:286. 
Vyshnevetsky’s expedition to the Crimea was a failure; in order to escape 

The Unloved Alliance 


Moscow’s retribution, he fled to Lithuania. Cf. Zygmunt August’s commendation 
of 5 September 1561 ( Akty Iuzhnoi i Zapadnoi Rosii [AIuZR], 2, no. 142). 

9. S. M. Solovev, Istoriia Rosii s drevneishikh vremen (Moscow, 1960), 4:28. 

10. In 1578 Stefan Batory notified the Crimean Khan that the Sich would be very 
difficult to take, for he had no fortifications there and the Cossacks would always 
find protection in Muscovy {Acta St. Batorei, no. 23). Marcin Bielski also 
reported that many Cossacks went to the Don {Kronika Marcina Bielskiego 
(Warsaw, 1829), 3:13ff.). In the 1580s there were whole regiments under the 
Hetmans M. Fedoriv, T. Slipetsky and S. Vysotsky. See E. M. Apanovich, 
“Pereselenie ukraintsev v Rossiiu nakanune osvoboditelnoi voiny 1648-1654 gg.” 
in Vossoedinenie Ukrainy s Rossiei 1654-1954: Sbornik statei (Moscow, 1954), 
79. Fletcher wrote of 4,000 Cossack mercenaries (G. Fletcher, Of the Russe 
Commonwealth, ed. A. J. Schmidt (Ithaca, N. Y., 1966), 78), and Margeret also 
counted 4,000 Cossacks at the beginning of the seventeenth century ( Skazaniia 
sovremennikov o Dm. Samozvantse (St. Petersburg, 1859), 1:281). 

11. St. Zolkiewski, Listy 1584-1620 (Cracow, 1868), no. 17. In 1596 Zolkiewski 
threatened Chancellor Zamoyski with the prospect of the rebels’ emigration to 
Muscovy if the Sejm did not approve funds to fight them. 

12. “...po ukazu gosudarevu...veleno” ( Sobranie Gosudarstvennykh Gramot i Dogo- 
vorov (SGGD), 2, no. 62). The Austrian envoy confirmed this in his diary 
{Memuary otnosiashchiesia k istorii Iuzhnoi Rossii (Kiev, 1890), 1: 163, 178. 
Hetman Nalyvaiko probably also intended to ally himself with the tsar in 1596, 
but the Poles anticipated this, as can be seen from the report of an imperial 
courier {Pamiatniki diplomaticheskikh snoshenii drevnei Rossii s derzhavami 
inostrannymi [St. Petersburg, 1852], 2, col. 294). 

13. There is a reference to this in a letter by the Zaporozhian Hetman T. Baibuza 
dated 1598 (St. Zolkiewski, op. cit. (n. 10), no. 60). 

14. O. Hoetzsch, “Foderation und fiirstliche Gewalt (Absolutismus) in der Geschichte 
Osteuropas im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert,” Zeitschrift fur osteuropaische Geschichte 
(ZOG) 8 (1934): 24. 

15. See 1. 1. Smirnov, Vosstanie Bolotnikova, 1606-1607 (Moscow, 1951). 

16. At the beginning of the century and in 1615 in Oster; in 1605 in Korsun; in 1615 
in the Dnieper region; in 1616 and 1622 in the Kiev area; in 1625, 1630-31 and 
1637-8 in various places; in 1640 in Korostyshiv; in 1644 and 1648 in Sniatyn; in 
1646 in Cherkasy, Korsun and Stebliv. See A. I. Baranovich, Ukraina nakanune 
osvoboditelnoi voiny serediny XVII v. (Sotsialno- ekonomicheskie predposylki 
voiny) (Moscow, 1959), 188ff. 

17. Vossoedinenie Ukrainy s Rossiei: Dokumenty i materialy v trekh tomakh 
(henceforth Vossoedinenie ), v. 1 (1620^47) (Moscow, 1954), nos. 1-3 and 7. In 
1625 the Poles reprimanded the Zaporozhians for this relationship and especially 
for the use of the title. See K. G. Guslisty, “Istoricheskie sviazi ukraintsev s 
Rossiei do osvoboditelnoi voiny 1648-1654 gg.” in Vossoedinenie Ukrainy s 
Rossiei 1654-1954: Sbornik statei (Moscow, 1954), 37. For 1621, see Vos- 
soedinenie, 1 , no. 8. 

18. For example, after the rebellions of 1630-31 (ibid., no. 63) and 1637-8 (ibid., 


Hans-Joachim Torke 

no. 114). In 1638 I. Ostrianyn came with 3,000 and V. F. Ivankiev with 10,000 
men (Apanovich, “Pereselenie Ukraintsev...,” 80ff). Cf. also a report dated April 
1638 by the Don Ataman Tatarinov ( Vossoedinenie , 1, no. 121). 

19. In 1637-8 it was stated: “There is nothing in the treaty which says that the 
deserters have to be returned; nobody has called them, and how can you return 
someone who came voluntarily?” (Apanovich, “Pereselenie Ukraintsev...,” 88). 
The border voevodas argued in the same fashion with the Polish-Lithuanian 
starostas, e.g., in a letter of 6 September 1638 from the voevoda N. Pleshcheev of 
Putyvl to the elder M. Dlucki of Hadiach ( Vossoedinenie , 1, no. 147). 

20. After having sworn an oath in Putyvl, the port of entry, most of the refugees were 
sent to live as far away from the borders as possible in special settlements 
(, slobody ). They were given money (five to eight rubles for the men, one and one- 
half rubles for other family members over 15 years of age, one ruble for children 
between 11 and 15 years of age, and one-half ruble for younger children); grain 
(from 8 quarters of rye for a large family to 3 quarters for a single person); seed 
(5 quarters of grain per family, 3 quarters for a single person); salt (2 puds per 
family, 1 pud for a single person); and, of course, land, i.e., virgin or state-owned 
land as service estates (20 quarters for a peasant, 40 quarters for a leader of a 
hundred men). Furthermore, if they were Cossacks, they received an annual 
salary, arms and ammunition (Apanovich, “Pereselenie Ukraintsev,” 89 ff). 

21. S. Velychenko, “The Origins of the Ukrainian Revolution of 1648,” Journal of 
Ukrainian Graduate Studies 1 (1976):23ff. 

22. Vossoedinenie, v. 2 (1648-51) (Moscow, 1954), no. 101. While Polish nobles 
were sent back (ibid., no. 196), the Cossacks now received an average of 4 to 10 
rubles per family. In February 1652, for example, almost the whole town of 
Konstantyniv came to Muscovy, as did the Cossacks of the Hlukhiv battalion and 
many inhabitants of Konotop; in March of the same year, Colonel I. Dzikovsky 
came from Chemihiv with more than 2,000 families. See I. D. Boiko, “Osvobo- 
ditelnaia voina ukrainskogo naroda 1648-1654 gg. i vossoedineie Ukrainy s 
Rossiei” in Vossoedinenie Ukrainy s Rossiei 1654-1954: Sbomik statei (Moscow, 
1954), 132. 

23. This comment was handed down by the later Hetman I. Vyhovsky (1657-9). See 
S. Grondski, Historia belli cosacco-polonici (Pestini, 1789), 49. 

24. Vossoedinenie, 2, nos. 12, 20, 25, 34, 52, 68, 74. Colonel S. Muzhylovsky also 
delivered a petition on this matter to Moscow on 4 February 1649 (ibid., no. 50). 

25. On 22 November 1649 Khmelnytsky thanked the Muscovite envoy G. Neronov 
for the deliveries of grain (ibid., no. 118). In January 1651 the Polish king’s 
secretary complained to the Muscovite envoy V. Starogo about Muscovy’s 
delivery of arms. See V. A. Golobutskii, Zaporozhskoe kazachestvo (Kiev, 1957), 

26. Vossoedinenie, 2, no. 39. On 13 March 1649 the tsar praised Khmelnytsky for the 
Cossacks’ desire to become Muscovite subjects (ibid., no. 58). 

27. Ibid., no. 46. Later, Metropolitan Gabriel of Nazareth (on behalf of Paisios), 
Metropolitan Joasaph of Corinth, and Metropolitan Galaktion of Macedonia 
attempted in vain to serve as mediators. Paisios himself and even the ecumenical 

The Unloved Alliance 


patriarch became involved once again in 1651. See R. Stupperich, “Der Anteil der 
Kirche beim Anschluss der Ukraine an Moskau (1654),” Kirche im Osten 14 
(197 1 ):68ff. 

28. Vossoedinenie, 2, no. 90. Kliuchevskii called this argument “a cruel, malicious 
joke” ( zhestokaia nasmeshka ). See V. O. Kliuchevskii, Kurs russkoi istorii in his 
Sochineniia (Moscow, 1957), 3:118. 

29. AIuZR 3, no. 303. 

30. Vossoedinenie, 2, no. 173. Khmelnytsky mentioned his discontent with the tsar on 
8 November 1650 in a conversation with Prior Arsenii Sukhanov of Moldavia, 
who was on his way from Moscow to Jerusalem, where he was to collect Greek 
sources for the Muscovite dispute about the correction of books. He accompanied 
Paisios (cf. n. 27) and was also to mediate in Ukrainian affairs, e.g., in the case of 
the false pretender to the throne, Akundinov (see below). Khmelnytsky 
complained that the tsar was unreliable. The Ukrainian envoys had been told good 
things and welcomed in friendly fashion, “but the next time he said something 
different, namely that he was at eternal peace with the king” ( Vossoedinenie , 2, 
no. 76). 

31. Cf. Khmelnytsky’s letter of 11 November 1650 to the tsar (ibid., no. 190). The 
clergyman Arsenii Sukhanov had acted as a mediator on this issue (cf. n. 30; also 
S. A. Belokurov, Arsenii Sukhanov (1632-1668 gg.), 2 vols. (St. Petersburg, 
1891-3). Akundinov continued his flight to Sweden, through Livonia, Holland 
and several German principalities to Holstein, from where he was extradited to 
Moscow only in August 1653. There he was executed in the presence of the 
Polish envoy. For further information see H. J. Torke, Die staatsbedingte 
Gesellschaft im Moskauer Reich. Zar und Zemlja in der altrussisschen Herr- 
schafts-verfassung, 1613-1689 (Leiden, 1974), 23ff. 

32. H. Neubauer, Car und Selbstherrscher. Beitrage zur Geschichte der Autokratie in 
Russland (Wiesbaden, 1964), 119. 

33. Vossoedinenie, v. 3 (165 1^4) (Moscow, 1954), no. 1; V. N. Latkin, Materialy dlia 
istorii Zemskikh soborov XVII stoletiia (1619-20, 1648^49 i 1651 godov ) 
(St. Petersburg, 1884), 77ff. 

34. Vossoedinenie, 3, no. 2. 

35. Ibid., no. 11. Later on Khmelnytsky also wrote to Morozov (cf. n. 41). 

36. Ibid., no. 60. Additional letters to the border voevodas confirm this attitude. 

37. N. F. Kapterev, Kharakter otnoshenii Rossii k pravoslavnomu vostoku v XVI i 
XVII stoletiiakh (Moscow, 1885), 353. Cf. n. 27. 

38. Vossoedinenie, 3, no. 165. This letter is a response to a communication that was 
not received from the Hetman. For the period from 9 to 13 May, there exists only 
one letter from the Hetman’s envoys to the Patriarch requesting intercession with 
the tsar (ibid., no. 162). On 23 April, K. Burliai and S. Muzhylovsky had been 
received by Nikon (ibid., no. 154). Later, on 9 and 12 August 1653, Khmelnytsky 
asked the Patriarch to request speedier assistance (ibid., nos. 183 and 186). On 
Nikon’s attitude, see also K. Zernack, “Die Expansion des Moskauer Reiches 
nach Westen, Siiden und Osten von 1648 bis 1689” in Handbuch der Geschichte 
Russlands 2, no. 2 (Stuttgart, 1986), 129. 


Hans-Joachim Torke 

39. Vossoedinenie, 3, no. 101. 

40. Ibid., no. 133 (letter of 12 November) and no. 138 (minutes of the negotiations in 

41. A. I. Kozachenko, “Zemskii sobor 1653 goda,” Voprosy istorii, no. 5 (1957): 152. 
Just at this time, on 23 March, Khmelnytsky wrote four more letters to Moscow 
addressed to Aleksei Mikhailovich, B. Morozov, I. Miloslavsky and G. Pushkin in 
order to present his request ( Vossoedinenie 3, nos. 147-50). 

42. Ibid., no. 169. The Hetman received notice of the decision at an audience with the 
Muscovite envoys A. S. Matveev and I. Fomin on 4 July. His letter to the 
voevoda of Putyvl, Count Khilkov, testifies to his threat concerning the Ottomans: 
“...if the grace of His Majesty is not granted, I will become the servant and slave 
of the Turks.” See P. A. Matveev, “Moskva i Malorossiia v upravlenie Ordina- 
Nashchokina Malorossiiskim Prikazom,” Russkii arkhiv 39 (1901):221. 

43. On the dates of the meetings in 1653, see Torke, Die staatsbedingte Gesellschaft, 

44. Vossoedinenie, 3, no. 197; SGGD 3, no. 157; V. N. Latkin, Zemskie sobory 

drevnei Rusi, ikh istoriia i organizatsiia sravnitelno s zapadno-evropeiskimi 
predstavitelnymi uchrezhdeniiami: Istoriko-iuridicheskoe issledovanie (St. 

Petersburg, 1885), 434ff. 

45. Vossoedinenie, 3, nos. 203-6. R. Streshnev had already departed on 6 September 
with the preliminary decision (ibid., 19 Iff). Meanwhile the Akundinov affair had 
also been concluded satisfactorily (cf. n. 31). 

46. Polnoe Sobranie Zakonov Rossiiskoi Imperii (PSZ), Series 1 (St. Petersburg, 
1830), 1, nos. 106, 111. 

47. W. Leitsch, Moskau und die Politik des Kaiserhofes im XVII. Jahrhundert (Graz 
and Cologne, 1960), 1:27. 

48. V. A. Miakotin, “Die Vereinigung der Ukraine mit dem Moskauer Staat,” ZOG 7 
(1933):326. The Muscovite envoy R. Streshnev (cf. n. 45) was instructed to 
confirm the Russian guarantee only if Khmelnytsky insisted obstinately or if his 
war with Poland had already commenced ( Vossoedinenie , 3, no. 194). Even when 
the Muscovite envoys had already reached Viazma on their way back from 
Poland, a special courier was sent from Moscow to Streshnev as late as 20 
September in order to ensure that the latter would only guarantee Muscovy’s sup- 
port if war had already broken out (ibid., no. 196). 

49. “ Getmana Bogdana Khmelnitskogo i vse Voisko Zaporozhskoe z gorodami i z 
zemliami...pod svoiu (gosudarevu) vysokuiu ruku ’ (ibid., no. 197). 

50. Cf. Buturlin’s account of this (ibid., no. 205). Cf. also Khmelnytsky’s letter of 
thanks to the tsar, dated 8 January (ibid., no. 225). 

51. Ibid., no. 245. 

52. Miakotin, Die Vereinigung, 329. 

53. Hoetzsch’s observation that the tsar’s original patent made no mention of foreign 
relations, indicating that Moscow had decided to reserve foreign policy entirely to 
itself (“Foderation und fiirstliche Gewalt,” 27), can also be interpreted in the 
opposite sense: foreign relations were not mentioned because the Hetman had 

The Unloved Alliance 


been granted complete liberty in this sphere. 

54. AIuZR, 3, no. 369. However, Khmelnytsky’s envoy P. Teteria, who was in 
Moscow in 1657, admitted the opposite: a larger sum was at issue, sufficient to 
cover the upkeep of the whole army. For the time being, however, the army was 
not paid out of this fund, part of which the colonels kept for themselves (ibid., 2, 
Appendix, no. 2). 

55. O. E. Gunther, “Der Vertrag von Perejaslav im Widerstreit der Meinungen,” 
Jahrbiicher fur Geschichte Osteuropas (JGO), New Series 2 (1954):243. 
However, what Khmelnytsky really thought and wanted is strongly disputed in the 
literature. See also H. Fleischhacker, “Die politischen Begriffe der Partner von 
Perejaslav,” ibid., 222ff. 

56. Evidently the expression vechnoe poddanstvo, used by Aleksei Mikhailovich in a 
letter to Khmelnytsky on 27 March 1654 ( Vossoedinenie , 3, no. 248), belongs to 
the same category of fine political phrases as “eternal peace.” V. Prokopovych 
suggests that “eternal” should not be interpreted to mean “aeternus,” but rather 
“perpetuus” in the meaning of “unlimited” or “permanent.” See V. Prokopovych, 
“The Problem of the Juridical Nature of the Ukraine’s Union with Muscovy,” 
Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U.S. 4 (1955):926ff. 
and 946. 

57. On the occasion of the birth of his first son, Aleksei, Khmelnytsky had addressed 
the tsar in this fashion as early as 8 January (cf. n. 50), but this letter exists only 
in Russian translation. In 1656 the tsar even called himself “sovereign of Kiev” 
vis-a-vis Poland (PSZ, Series 1, 1, no. 192). Such changes of title occurred rapidly 
and were sometimes temporary, as is shown by the titles assumed with respect to 
Georgia and Moldavia (Prokopovych, “The Problem of the Juridical Nature,” 

58. SGGD 4, 4. The same was true of the newly acquired Belorussian regions. See 
I. B. Grekov, “Iz istorii sovmestnoi borby Ukrainy i Rossii za osushchestvlenie 
reshenii Pereiaslavskoi rady (1657-1659 gg.)” in Vossoedinenie Ukrainy s 
Rossiei: Sbornik statei (Moscow, 1954), 311. 

59. In early 1657 A. Lopukhin was delegated to inform Khmelnytsky that, inter alia, 
a treaty between Muscovy and Poland would not affect Ukrainian interests. See 
AIuZR 8, 386 ff. See also ibid., 7, 191. 

60. Cf. the report by Protasev (ibid., 11, Appendix, no. 2). 

61. A typical case is that of P. Teteria, who, as Khmelnytsky’s envoy, made mention 
of these conditions in August 1657 and presented himself and the brothers I. and 
K. Vyhovsky as examples. Not even the Hetman was to know of the gifts, and 
preference was given to grants of land in Lithuania and Belorussia (ibid.). 

62. A kind of “bondage of mutual consent” was introduced only gradually by the 
Cossack upper stratum. This system involved personal freedom for the peasants in 
exchange for the assumption of social responsibilities, with service estates distrib- 
uted to the officers. See K. Kononenko, Ukraine and Russia: A History of the 
Economic Relations between Ukraine and Russia (1654-1917) (Milwaukee, 
1958), 1 ff. 

63. Fleischhacker, “Die politischen Begriffe,” 231. 

64 Hans-Joachim Torke 

64. This was communicated to the lord high steward ( stolnik ) Kikin (AIuZR 11, 
Appendix, no. 3). 

65. “...a tvoikh de velikogo gosudaria...voevod i ratnykh Ukraine nigde 
net” (ibid., 4, 1 16). 

66. Gunther, “Der Vertrag von Perejaslav,” 232. For a long time, scholars took these 
articles to be the actual “treaty,” which survived only as a concept. 

67. The Cossacks delivered the Muscovite commander-in-chief, Sheremetev, to the 
Tatars. Because the tsar did not consider him worth the ransom, he had to spend 
20 years in Bakhchysarai. 

68. Z. Wojcik, “The Early Period of Pavlo Teteria’s Hetmancy in the Right-Bank 
Ukraine (1661-1663)” in Eucharisterion : Essays presented to Omeljan Pritsak on 
his Sixtieth Birthday by his Colleagues and Students (Harvard Ukrainian Studies 
III/IV), (Cambridge, Mass., 1980), 2:965. 

69. The Army Otaman Roh wrote to him: “The Army does not know what a boiar is; 
it knows only the Hetman.” (Matveev, “Moskva i Malorossiia,” 235). A Colonel 
(D. Iermolenko) made this comment on the wave of ennoblement: “I do not need 
the nobility; I am a Cossack of the old school.” (AIuZR 6, no. 41). 

70. This was reported by the tsar’s personal physician, an Englishman. See S. Collins, 
The Present State of Russia, in a Letter to a Friend at London: Written by an 
Eminent Person Residing at the Great Tzars Court at Moscow for the space of 
nine years (London, 1671), 107. 

71. S. F. Platonov, Moskva i zapad (Berlin, 1926), 120ff. 

72. K. A. Sofronenko, Malorossiiskii prikaz russkogo gosudarstva vtoroi poloviny 
XVII i nachala XVIII veka (Moscow 1960). The office employed up to four 
secretaries ( diaki ) and between 15 and 40 scribes (podiachie ) (ibid., 43). 

73. Matveev, Moskva i Malorossiia, 226. As early as 1658 Ordin-Nashchokin had 
wanted to return Ukraine, as well as Vitebsk and Polotsk, to Poland so as to be 
able to negotiate peace with Sweden together with the Rzeczpospolita. However, 
Matveev goes much too far when he explains Briukhovetsky’s secession of 1668 
by Ordin-Nashchokin’ s anti-Ukrainian attitude alone (ibid., 227). On concepts of 
foreign policy in Muscovy, see Zemack, “Die Expansion des Moskauer Reiches,” 

74. Matveev, Moskva i Malorossiia, 235. Rumours of Ordin-Nashchokin’ s double- 
dealing were stirred up especially by the bishop of Mstsislavl, Metodii (see 
below), who wanted to harm Briukhovetsky. See V. O. Eingom, “Ocherki iz 
istorii Malorossii v XVII veke,” Zhumal Ministerstva Narodnogo Prosvesh- 
cheniia (1899), 431. 

75. Matveev, Moskva i Malorossiia, 238ff. Ordin-Nashchhokin made another mistake 
in February 1668, after the outbreak of the rebellion, because he did not know the 
individuals involved. Briukhovetsky thus obtained the letters directed against him 
(ibid., 239). 

76. Ibid., 242ff. 

77. The general quartermaster ( heneralnyi oboznyi ) P. Zabila, one of the main 
intriguers against Mnohohrishny, even suggested to the tsar that he appoint a 

The Unloved Alliance 


boiar as Hetman, “for if the Hetman is a Little Russian, nothing good will come 
of it.” (AIuZR 9, no. 146). See also H. Schumann, “Der Hetmanstaat 
(1654-1764),” JGO 1 (1936):543ff. 

78. B. Krupnyckyj, Geschichte der Ukraine (Leipzig, 1943), 131. Aleksei 

Mikhailovich and Nikon had made this suggestion for the first time after the 
conquest of Smolensk and Polotsk (Stupperich, “Der Anted der Kirche,” 81). 

79. This was not accepted without resistance, as was shown by P. I. Petryk’s rebellion 
against Mazepa in 1692. On the reduced significance of the “articles” as a treaty, 
see B. E. Nolde, “Essays in Russian State Law,” Annals of the Ukrainian 
Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U.S. 4 (1955), 880. 

80. D. Doroshenko, “Hetman Mazepa: Sein Leben und Wirken,” ZOG 7 (1933):56. 

81. The colonel of the Bila Tserkva regiment. Semen Palii, who led a rebellion 
against the Poles on the Right Bank from 1700 to 1703, wanted to place this part 
of the country under Mazepa’s control, but was arrested by Mazepa on the tsar’s 
orders. See O. Ohloblyn, Hetman Ivan Mazepa ta ioho doba (New York, 1960), 

82. Nolde, “Essays,” 882ff. The whole process corresponded to the subordination of 
the Don Cossacks to the War College in 1721. 

83. As a recent study shows, at the beginning of the 1580s there were hardly any 
Cossacks — about eight per cent — of Muscovite origin among the Zaporozhians. 
See S. Luber and P. Rostankowski, “Die Herkunft der im Jahre 1581 registrierten 
Zaporoger Kosaken,” JGO 28 (1980):368ff. 

84. Stokl, Die Entstehung des Kosakentums, 172. 

85. Solovev, Istoriia Rossii, 5:643. 

86. Novoselsky, Pobegi krestian i khlopov i ikh sysk v Moskovskom gosudarstve 
vtoroi poloviny XVII veka (Moscow 1926). 

87. On the collective petitions and Assemblies of the Land, see Torke, Die 
staatsbedingte Gesellschaft, Chapters 3 and 4. 

88. Smirnov, Vosstanie Bolotnikova, 124. 

89. Akty sobrannye v bibliotekakh i arkhivakh Rossiiskoi Imperii Arkheograficheskoiu 
ekspeditsieiu Imperatorskoi Akademii Nauk (AAE) 4, no. 255, 1. After the 
rebellion had been crushed, Sofia explicitly prohibited such self-government on 8 
October 1682 (ibid., no. 266). 

90. PSZ, Series 1, v. 2, no. 978; SGGD 4, no. 158. 

91. Vossoedinenie, 1, nos. 19, 107, 269. 

92. I. P. Eremin, “K istorii russko-ukrainskikh literaturnykh sviazei v XVII v.,” Trudy 
Otdela drevnerusskoi literatury 9 (1953), 29 1 ff . ; K. V. Kharlampovich, Malo- 
rossiiskoe vliianie na velikorusskuiu tserkovnuiu zhizn, v. 1 (Kazan, 1914). 

93. In that year, the discharged bishop of Przemysl, Isaiia Kopynsky, who later 
became Metropolitan (1631-3), asked Filaret for permission to immigrate to 
Muscovy because of the persecution of Orthodoxy ( Vossoedinenie , 1, no. 15ff). 

94. Ibid., no. 22. On the same point, cf. V. O. Eingorn, “O snosheniiakh Malo- 
rossiiskogo dukhovenstva s Moskovskim pravitelstvom v tsarstovanie Alekseia 
Mikhailovicha,” Chteniia v Obshchestve istorii i drevnostei rossiiskikh (1893), 


Hans-Joachim Torke 

1-2, IV. 

95. Names in E. N. Medynsky, Bratskie shkoly Ukrainy i Belorussii v XVI-XVII vv. i 
ikh rol v vossoedinenii Ukrainy s Rossiei (Moscow, 1954), 11 Iff. Nikon had 
Kievans and even a Pole on his personal staff, and evidently had a soft spot for 
the West. See L. R. Lewitter, “Poland, the Ukraine and Russia in the 17th 
Century,” Slavonic and East European Review 27 (1948-9): 165ff. 

96. Ibid., 425. 

97. Schumann, “Der Hetmanstaat,” 547. 

98. D. Bantysh-Kamensky, Istoria Maloi Rossii (Moscow 1822), 222. 

99. Matveev, Moskva i Malorossiia, 228. With respect to the treaty, it was of course 
the tsar’s mood of the moment. For mistrust in the other direction — 
Khmelnytsky’s of Aleksei Mikhailovich — see n. 30. 

100. W. Philipp, “Altrussland bis zum Ende des 16. Jahrhunderts,” Propylaen- 
Weltgeschichte (Berlin, 1963), 5:260. 

Modern History 

Marc Raeff 

Ukraine and Imperial Russia: Intellectual and 
Political Encounters from the Seventeenth to 
the Nineteenth Century 

Compared with the political and cultural relationships prevailing between 
dominant and subordinate nations in Eastern Europe, the relations obtaining be- 
tween Ukraine and the Russia of Moscow and St. Petersburg appear, at first 
glance, paradoxical. One is struck by the fact that at the moment of its 
subordination to Muscovite Russia, it was Ukraine that enjoyed and exercised a 
clear cultural predominance; much later, in the nineteenth century, at the birth 
of modem national consciousness, Ukraine had the status of a peasant culture 
adjudged inferior and harshly repressed. The purpose of this paper is to explore 
the how of this development. I hope that, in so doing, I shall be able to raise 
meaningful questions and point to paths of investigation and terminological de- 
finitions that may yield satisfactory exploratory schemes. I approach the prob- 
lem from the point of view of a R ussian historian (in both senses of the 
adjective), for that is where my competence lies, but a partial (in the quan- 
titative sense only) perspective should stimulate meaningful response and 
fruitful dialogue from the Ukrainian viewpoint as well. 

It is superfluous in the present context to restate the significant contributions 
made by Ukraine, in particular by the ecclesiastical and educational institutions 
of Kiev, in transmitting and naturalizing Western ideas and intellectual tech- 
niques in the second half of the seventeenth century . 1 It may be useful, though, 
to recall that this contribution went far beyond the role played by the faculty 
and students of Peter Mohyla’s Academy in implementing the religious policies 
of Moscow, in setting up the Greco-Slavonic-Latin academy in the capital, and 
in furnishing, in the person of Symeon Polotsky, an influential teacher of the 
tsar’s children and, in the person of Teofan Prokopovych, the most effective 
ideological supporter and propagandist of the first emperor. For indeed it was 
not only the clergy who obtained access to Western ideas and works; the laity, 
too, especially the members of the elite, partook of this training, albeit in 
bowdlerized form. In this way the Ukrainian elite stood in sharp contrast to the 
widespread ignorance of secular learning prevalent among the Muscovite 
service nobility . 2 And it was precisely representatives of the educated lay elite 
from Ukraine who were drawn into the service of the tsar in ever greater 
numbers as the political integration of the Hetmanate and of Kiev progressed 
apace in the last decades of the seventeenth century. 


Marc Raejf 

The research of literary historians has recently documented a much wider 
knowledge and spread of Western works in Latin than had been assumed here- 
tofore. This was particularly true of officials in the central bureaus of the 
Muscovite administration, especially the clerks of the Posolskii prikaz . 3 Of par- 
ticular interest in the context of Russian political culture is the fact that in the 
second h alf of_the seventeenth ce ntury quite a few treatises on rhetoric and 
logic (the basic intellectual tools of the period), as well as on politics and, 
naturally, theology, were circulated in manuscript form among the members of 
the Muscovite elite. This literature, too, had come to Moscow thanks to the 
mediation of Ukrainians and Belorussians who had direct links with Kiev and 
Poland, and indirect ones with Central and West European institutions of 
learning . 4 

To date the historiography has not stressed enough that, along with new 
literary forms and genres and more sophisticated homiletics, Ukraine also 
helped transmit to Muscovy the newly emerged European political culture of 
the late seventeenth century (although the particulars of the phenomenon 
remain to be investigated). To be sure, in this case, neither the Ukrainians nor 
those trained in Kiev were the only agents of transmission. The foreigners, 
mainly German, who came to serve the Muscovite tsar also conveyed the 
theoretical literature and practical instances of this culture. And toward the end 
of the century the Russians themselves were able to pick up the material at its 
source. But they hardly would have known where or what to turn to had the 
ground not been prepared by the Ukrainians. What then was this new political 
culture? Its philosophical underpinning was natural law and neo-stoicism, its 
intellectual foundation the rationalism of seventeenth-century natural phi- 
losophy, and its institutional implementation was to be found in the policies of 
absolute monarchies and territorial sovereignties. The rhetoric, logic and neo- 
scholastic metaphysics taught at the Kievan Academy served as indispensable 
mental preparation for the reception of the intellectual presuppositions of 
European political culture, while information on institutional practices was pro- 
vided by foreign residents and Russian envoys abroad . 5 

The new European political culture may be denoted by the theories of 
cameralism and the practices of the well ordered police state. As I have tried to 
show elsewhere, it was a relatively coherent system of administrative practices 
based on a rationalist and voluntarist conception of man’s relationship to the 
physical and social universe. The main purpose of this system was to reorient 
and discipline society in such a way as to maximize its productive potential in 
all realms so as to enhance the prestige of the sovereign and further the 
prosperity of his subjects. Once launched on this path, it was believed, men and 
society would progress indefinitely in making use of what nature provides. The 
practical realization of this political culture was to be the result of the leader- 
ship and direction of the sovereign power (usually the monarch), assisted by a 
body of officials (increasingly professionalized as a result of legal and 

Ukraine and Imperial Russia 


cameralist studies), as well as by the co-optation of representatives of estates, 
corporations or other traditional sodalities. The well-ordered police state had an 
inbuilt drive to expand its area of concern and to reach out to regulate more and 
more public activities, a propensity that brought it into conflict with established 
local centres of power (which eventually succumbed ). 6 But it is equally im- 
portant to note that in addition to the conflicts between central authorities and 
local estates, much discussed in historical literature, there took place just as fre- 
quently a successful co-optation of local elites and corporate bodies. There was, 
therefore, no contradiction in principle, or even in practice, between the central 
power and autonomous local units, as long as the latter were willing to accept 
the state’s political program in pursuit of the common goal of maximizing 
society’s productive potential. In other words, the participation of regional 
estates and corporate bodies was one of the factors behind the success of the 
well-ordered police state. In this manner local autonomies and the influence of 
regional elites were preserved in ancien-regime Europe until the very end of the 
latter’s existence at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the 
nineteenth centuries . 7 

The Muscovite state did not seriously try to import and adapt this European 
political culture, although under Tsar Theodore and the regency of Sophie it 
accumulated information about it. But the more energetic members of its elite, 
those who were thirsting for more dynamic and creative ways, felt attracted to 
the new culture from the West. Their most prominent representative, young 
Tsar Peter himself, taking advantage of the weakness and disarray of the tra- 
ditional culture of Muscovy, found support when he decided to import and 
implement the European model at home, and he did so with a remarkable esprit 
de suite and willful energy. Yet Peter could not rely on corporate autonomous 
bodies, which were greatly underdeveloped in Russian society. He had to create 
an officialdom, a service class entirely subordinate to his will. In this con- 
nection two points need to be stressed, as they affect the general problem of 
Ukrainian-Russian relations. 

In the first place, Peter had to “draft” all those capable of becoming mem- 
bers of an effective, relatively educated, and energetic administrative elite in 
order to put the country onto the path of material progress, military and 
political power, and cultural Europeanization. Of course he enlisted foreigners, 
whether residents of Russia or people especially hired for the purpose. He also 
endeavoured to attract to St. Petersburg members of the local elites from the 
newly acquired Baltic provinces, and naturally he was delighted to find that the 
Ukrainian educated elite, too, could serve his purposes. It is common know- 
ledge that quite a few of his collaborators — especially in matters ecclesiastical 
and domestic — not only hailed from Ukraine but were also products of its 
educational institutions. As time went on, thanks to their better education and 
with the help of the client system, many more members of the Ukrainian 
nobility ( szlachta ) and Cossack officer stratum ( starshyna ) were drawn into the 


Marc Raeff 

ranks of the empire’s officialdom. A much needed task of historical scholarship 
is to describe how Ukrainians (and members of other non-Russian nationalities) 
penetrated the Russian administration in the reigns of Peter I and his immediate 
successors, to explain their role and assess their contribution in developing the 
imperial style of government. 

The second point that should be mentioned in our context is that, in 
annexing and drawing into its orbit various “foreign” regions and territories, 
neither the Muscovite nor the Petrine state insisted on erasing local autonomies 
and traditions as long as they did not conflict with the imperial interests (this 
was the sticking point in the case of Ukraine, especially after Mazepa’s so- 
called treason). This is not the place to go into the political and administrative 
relations between the Russian government and Ukraine; they were the 
consequence of important socio-economic developments, as has been 
demonstrated by Venedikt Miakotin and many others. 8 1 only wish to point out 
that neither the acceptance of the notions and practices of the well-ordered 
police state nor the involvement of many Ukrainians in the St. Petersburg 
establishment signified the elimination of the special status, rights and 
privileges of Ukraine, even though there was much controversy as to the limits 
of autonomy and its institutional forms. 9 Nor was the relationship necessarily a 
one-way street. The representative of St. Petersburg was not only the executor 
of the ruler’s will, even against the preferences and wishes of the local elite: he 
was also influenced by and learned from the latter. A case in point is the career 
of D. M. Golitsyn, who was for many years governor in Kiev; quite clearly he 
had in mind some of the political notions and experiences he acquired in 
Ukraine when, in 1730, he attempted unsuccessfully to limit the autocratic 
power of Empress Anne. That he was intellectually much influenced by 
Ukraine (and perhaps Poland) and its political culture can be deduced from his 
library and documented intellectual interests. 10 In brief, I am arguing that the 
“benevolent” and acquiescent attitude of the cameralist well-ordered police 
state toward regional autonomies and corporate traditions encouraged represen- 
tatives of the Ukrainian (and other) elites to enter the service of St. Petersburg. 
Acquainted with Western political culture, they fully accepted the long-range 
goal of maximizing productivity in order to increase the power and prosperity 
of the empire as a whole (in which they and their region would naturally share); 
they did not feel or believe that in so doing they were jeopardizing regional 
autonomy or their fellows’ traditional rights and status. 

It is not surprising that the members of the Ukrainian elite who joined the 
imperial establishment did quite well. Their better intellectual preparation and 
greater freedom of action as outsiders not bound by earlier traditions and 
prejudices made them particularly effective instruments of imperial policies. In 
addition, the clannishness that dominated the establishment favoured a self-de- 
fined and closely knit minority group." Their usefulness was readily recognized 
by the authorities in St. Petersburg in deed as well as in word: in settling the 

Ukraine and Imperial Russia 


southern territories the Ukrainian service elites, quite naturally, received partic- 
ularly desirable allotments and profitable inducements . 12 True, this did not 
always lead to genuine prosperity in individual instances, partly because of 
generally unfavourable economic, social and administrative conditions in the 
empire and partly because the services expected in return proved too onerous. 

As Ukraine was a border territory, it was also the staging area for the 
numerous military campaigns the Russian Empire waged against Poland, the 
Ottoman Empire, the Crimea, Persia, and the nomadic peoples of the south- 
east. The military establishment stationed there was great, and because of its 
strategic situation with respect to supplies, a large civilian administrative staff 
was attached to it. The commanders-in-chief in Ukraine had broad civil as well 
as military and diplomatic competence; they were most important and 
influential personages not only locally but in St. Petersburg as well. They filled 
their needs for administrative staff by turning to the graduates of local 
educational establishments. Numerous members of the clergy, as well as 
children of the starshyna trained at the ecclesiastical schools (or even the 
Kievan Academy) entered the Russian state service on the staff of the gover- 
nors and commanders-in-chief in Ukraine. The headquarters of N. V. Repnin 
and P. A. Rumiantsev were filled with such young men who rapidly rose to 
prominence thanks to their talents and good work, as well as the patronage of 
their superiors, who frequently were their relatives as well. Many prominent 
administrators and diplomats of the second half of the reign of Catherine II, and 
in the reigns of Paul I and Alexander I as well, came from this group: I need 
only mention the names of Bezborodko, Troshchynsky, Zavadovsky, and 
Kochubei . 13 

Thus we see the significant involvement of Ukraine and its children in the 
development of the imperial establishment and the expansion of the empire in 
the eighteenth century (they were administrators of non-Russian areas as well). 
They took on these roles because the education they received on the pattern of 
seventeenth-century European intellectual style became an essential factor in 
the creation of the Petrine imperial establishment. Moreover, their active 
participation in imperial policy and administration did not, at first, force them 
to renounce their regional allegiance, their commitment to the traditional and 
separate ways of Ukraine. Only gradually did it become evident that their 
involvement led automatically to greater control and uniformization of the 
elites (mainly for cultural reasons, to which we shall turn later). And although 
the central authorities did not always respect all the rights and privileges of the 
newly incorporated regions (Ukraine, the Baltic region, later the Crimea and the 
former Lithuanian lands), in the case of Ukraine and the Baltic provinces there 
was no overt intention to eliminate their particular status. 

True, traditional rights and privileges were eroded by social and cultural 
integration, nibbled at and modified to suit imperial needs, but they were not 
abrogated throughout the first three-quarters of the eighteenth century . 14 To the 


Marc Raejf 

extent that the local elites had become russified socially, economically and 
culturally — and this was mainly the case in the slobodshchina and the 
territories adjoining central Russia — their sense of regional autonomy was 
weakened. But it remained strong among those who considered themselves 
descendants and heirs of the seventeenth-century Cossacks. 

This was clearly manifested at the Legislative Commission of 1767. All the 
instructions for the deputies from the szlachta (shliakhetstvo — significant 
preservation of seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century terminology) of 
“Little Russia” began with a strong expression of the wish to have their 
traditional rights and privileges, as they had been secured in the Treaty of 
Pereiaslav and in the legislation of Polish kings and Muscovite tsars, confirmed 
and restated in an unambiguous manner. 15 It is to be noted that the argument 
was historical and legal, as had been typical of regional estates in Western 
Europe in the early modem period. Treaties were contracts and had to be 
honored: practices, laws and rules that developed historically became traditions 
of unquestionable authority. Implicit in this argument was the notion that the 
treaty or contract was between equals, as further evidenced by the contributions 
of the Ukrainians to the furtherance of the empire’s glory and prosperity. All 
this implied a recognition of the local liberties enjoyed by the elites, as well as 
their legal and economic privileges. 

By contrast, the nakazy for the deputies of the nobility (and nota bene, in 
this instance the term dvorianstvo, not shliakhetstvo, is used) of the Slobidska 
and Chemihiv gubernias did not contain such references or, if they appeared at 
all, they were incidental and expressed in muted form. 16 As G. A. Maksimovich 
has established, the original drafts of several of the nakazy of these provinces 
did include a clear restatement of the rights and traditional privileges of the 
Cossacks. General Rumiantsev, however, through his agents (Bezborodko 
played a key role here, one that probably helped to launch him on his success- 
ful career in St. Petersburg), had these statements stricken and the deputies or 
marshals elected to bring them to the attention of the Legislative Commission 
forcibly removed. 17 Similar observations may be made about the nakazy from 
towns and cities of the region: they referred to the Magdeburg Law or the 
Lithuanian Statute, requesting that these be confirmed by Catherine and the 
Commission and included in the new code as the basis of their social, ad- 
ministrative and economic organization. 18 

The debates in the Legislative Commission itself, as they appear in the 
official minutes at any rate, clearly show that demands for the confirmation of 
regional autonomies and traditional rights — whether Ukrainian, Baltic or any 
other — went against the mainstream of opinion. Only differences in ways of 
life (nomadic, settled agricultural, etc.) were recognized as valid cause for 
administrative and legal differentiation — and this only in the expectation that, 
sooner or later, enlightenment and inescapable material progress would elimi- 
nate such distinctions as well. The government, prompted by the empress 

Ukraine and Imperial Russia 


herself, stood firmly behind the Enlightenment notions of universally uniform 
development and progress. Supported by the Great Russian elite, which did not 
wish to see the nobilities of peripheral regions treated differently from itself, 
St. Petersburg displayed little interest in historical claims and was naturally 
opposed to special arrangements and status. 19 This was illustrated by the many 
complaints aired in the instructions to the deputies and in the debates in the 
Commission of 1767. A major criticism was the absence of rigid rules for auto- 
matic integration into the ranks of the ruling Russian elite, i.e., the lack of 
genuine equality of status between the Ukrainian elite and the Russian 
dvorianstvo. 20 The problem arose not only because of tensions with the Russian 
nobility with respect to access to the latter’s ranks, but also because there were 
no clear definitions and rules governing the empire’s favoured class. 

Be that as it may, the legislation of Catherine II had two important con- 
sequences for the Ukrainian service elite: it made possible the expansion of 
serfdom into Ukraine, and by securing serf labour it enhanced the economic po- 
sition of at least the upper ranges of Ukrainian society. The second 
consequence, which became manifest over a period of time, was the adminis- 
trative integration of this elite into the Russian “establishment” as a result of 
the extension of the statute on the provinces (1775) and of the charters to the 
nobility and to the towns (1785). Many educated persons in Ukraine thus 
acquired an administrative function on the local level and, because of the inter- 
twining of local and central establishments, their careers in the central 
apparatus were furthered as well. But here, too, further study would be neces- 
sary to determine the precise level of participation and integration on the basis 
of reliable statistical data. Naturally such a development encouraged the 
Ukrainian elite to acquire and share the values and social ways of its Great 
Russian colleagues. The integration was further stimulated, after the peace of 
Kuchuk Kainardji, by the opening up of the northern littoral of the Black Sea 
( Novaia Rossiia) to settlement and exploitation. Many Russians received lands 
and settled in Ukraine, intermingling with the local elite, and helped create a 
new type of russianized Ukrainian noble landowner and servitor. 21 The process 
was a slow one, and never quite completed, as witness Russian and Ukrainian 
belles lettres in the nineteenth century. It did, however, dilute the specific 
cultural traits and social character of the Ukrainian elite, which ceased to act as 
the “natural” cultural and political leader with respect to the common people, 
the peasantry. 

Along with this slow process of social and cultural integration or uni- 
formization (and down to the last quarter of the eighteenth century it was an 
open question whether the Russian or the Ukrainian linguistic, literary and 
intellectual traditions would prevail in Ukraine) there continued the more 
conscious, rapid and thorough process of admitting the Ukrainian servitors to 
the political, administrative leadership of the empire. The imperial bureaucracy 
was constantly expanding in the eighteeenth century, and the need for 


Marc Raeff 

adequately prepared personnel was always acute. The educational traditions and 
institutions of Ukraine, imparting, as we have seen, the notions of cameralism, 
natural law and rigorous intellectual discipline, gave their products a head start. 
Ordinances or ukases required Ukrainian educational institutions (the Kievan 
Academy, the collegium at Kharkiv, as well as lesser ones) to send their 
graduates or students to the newly established University of Moscow for further 
training or to enroll them in various administrative offices particularly short of 
personnel. For example, we have evidence that the Kharkiv collegium helped 
staff the middle ranks of the imperial diplomatic service, especially specialists 
on the Ottoman Empire and surrounding territories . 22 

In conclusion on this topic, I want to make it clear, and cannot stress too 
strongly, that so far I have dealt only with the claims of regional autonomy and 
respect for traditional, historically and judicially defined, rights and privileges 
of the Ukrainian elites. While reference was naturally made to the Cossack 
Host and the agreement between Bohdan Khmelnytsky and Tsar Alexis on 
behalf of Ukraine, the sources do not speak of, or for, a Ukrainian nation. Their 
object of concern was a specific social organization, the status of a social class, 
while the means of preserving the identity of this territorial and social 
organization consisted in the confirmation of treaties, charters, and granted 
privileges. The distinction between Great Russian and Little Russian was de- 
fined in terms of differences in historical experience, not in terms of specific 
particularities of language, religion, cultural traits and the like. This is clearly 
illustrated in the case of the vocal spokesman for Ukrainian regional autonomy, 
H. A. Poletyka, in the middle of the eighteenth century . 23 I would call this 
ancien-regime autonomism or particularism (or, in German terminology, 
Landespatriotismus ) for the benefit of the ruling strata, in which the common 
people had no place. Under conditions of a “pre-modem” world, where 
peasants thought only in exceedingly narrow local economic and social terms, 
this is not surprising. 

New elements were brought into the picture by the intellectual and cultural 
developments that took place in the middle and second half of the eighteenth 
century, which, paradoxically, reinforced the trend toward uniformization (i.e., 
russification) while at the same time creating a basis for the rejection of the 
process. For members of the elite who wanted to make their careers in the 
imperial establishment in the latter part of the eighteenth century, the traditional 
seventeenth-century type of education was clearly no longer adequate. 
Technical subjects of practical value — e.g., geometry, fortification, and artillery 
for the military; foreign languages for diplomacy — moved to the centre of 
attention. The new trend had been introduced to Russia proper by Peter I and 
had resulted in the establishment of the Corps of Cadets and, later, in the 
founding of the university at Moscow, and still later in the pedagogical 
innovations brought about by I. Betskoi under the aegis of Catherine II. The 
Ukrainian schools, largely attended by children of the elite ( szlachta and 

Ukraine and Imperial Russia 


starshyna ), followed suit, as did the private instruction given at home to the 
children of the more affluent. In this respect the history of the collegium at 
Kharkiv may be paradigmatic . 24 Established as an ecclesiatical school along 
seventeenth-century lines, it soon added the new disciplines to its curriculum to 
satisfy the needs of the children of the elite, who expected to pursue secular 
careers in the empire. In the last quarter of the eighteenth century the 
differences between the needs of the clerical and secular establishments had 
become so great that additional separate classes and courses were introduced at 
the collegium to meet the requirements of effective training for secular 
careers . 25 

The evolution just sketched was easy to make, for the original curriculum of 
the seventeenth century had already included such disciplines as philosophy 
and jurisprudence that provided the groundwork for cameralist studies. As had 
been the case in Central and Western Europe, too, the very foundations and 
elements of traditional cameralist instruction underwent a change in the course 
of the eighteenth century. The concepts of natural law were fully secularized; 
the principles of philosophical rationalism were extended to apply to the social 
realm. Finally, the notions of an expanding and limitless potential of productive 
resources, both human and natural, led to a belief in unlimited progress and the 
acceptance of the Enlightenment /Aufklarung as an ideology of freedom and 
rights and the satisfaction of needs to attain individual happiness. The same 
intellectual sources that had produced cameralist disciplines, literature and 
professors became the purveyors of EnMghtenment/Aufklarung notions and 
programs . 26 

A reorientation in the intellectual premises and philosophical, moral, and 
even political consequences of the education received in Ukraine had to take 
place. The new cultural model became a type of individual who combined 
traditional religiosity with the moral pathos and optimism of the Aufklarung. 
This was the case of Hryhorii Skovoroda and, to a lesser extent, of A. 
Samborsky and A. Prokopovych-Antonsky, all products of the collegium at 
Kharkiv . 27 For our purposes it is also important to remember that both the 
Aufklarung and the Enlightenment differed from the intellectual modes 
prevailing earlier in that they assumed the uniformity of human nature and, 
consequently, the universality of the “laws” of social and cultural development 
and progress. Unlike cameralism, which recognized and made use of regional, 
cultural and historical diversities, the Enlightenment insisted that a basic 
uniformity underlay all diversities, so that the latter, being but external and 
accidental, would disappear with the triumph of enlightened notions and the 
reconstruction of society on their basis. In the course of the second half of the 
eighteenth century, elite education instilled ideas that led to a loss of interest in 
the preservation of diversified historical and legal traditions, but on the contrary 
advocated laws and principles that would result in a uniform society and culture 
throughout the empire. In this way the new curricula converged with the drive 


Marc Raejf 

for institutional uniformity (i.e., russification) mentioned earlier. The more suc- 
cessful and dynamic Enlightenment culture, in direct contact with the world of 
European ideas, had its centre in Russia proper; the educational and cultural 
institutions of St. Petersburg (and to a lesser extent those of Moscow) set the 
tone and pace; it was they that now influenced the Ukrainians. All seemed to 
conspire to bring about the full integration of the Ukrainian elite and its culture 
into that of the empire, leading, in fact, to russification, since Russian political 
culture had achieved dominance and monopoly in the empire. 

Paradoxically, at this very moment, events occurred and trends arose that 
had quite an opposite effect. First, with respect to the social policies of 
Catherine II: we have seen that the extension of the new provincial ad- 
ministration to Ukraine and the more energetic settlement of the southern 
steppe served to integrate still further the local elite of the empire into the pat- 
tern set by the Great Russians. It became desirable to accede to the new 
institutions and, to this end, to have one’s elite status fully recognized and 
assimilated to the Russian (imperial) dvorianstvo. The threat of such a massive 
influx of new nobles did not sit well with either the established Russian nobility 
or the central government. Exacting proofs were required to prevent the poor 
and culturally unassimilated members of the local elite from joining the ranks 
of the imperial nobility . 28 It was precisely this policy that had two unexpected 
and paradoxical consequences. In the first place, it gave rise within the 
Ukrainian elite to a greater feeling of solidarity and of a sense of identity: not 
only did members of the Ukrainian elite have the same problems and needs, but 
their mutual testimonies were often used as proof to qualify for inscription on 
the rosters of the nobility. In the second place, proof and validation of noble 
status required submission of old charters, grants, diplomas, or testimony to the 
effect that ancestors had this or that position or owned a specific privileged 
domain. Naturally this resulted in a flood of forged genealogies and historical 
or legal documents. But it also stimulated a lively interest in history and 
furthered research and publication about the past to validate historical conti- 
nuities and distinctiveness. Reinforced by the moral and emotional emphasis of 
the late Aufklarung (the “enlightenment of the heart”), this concern for the past 
paved the way for the quick and thorough reception of Romantic notions about 
folk, history and nation. 

The opening of the university at Kharkiv (to replace the collegium), and the 
somewhat later creation of the Bezborodko lycee at Nizhyn, may serve as 
illustrations of the change in intellectual fashion. The story of these institutions 
is well known and I need not enter into it here . 29 Suffice it to recall that both 
owed their origins to the initiative of local personalities for the express purpose 
of providing an education that would prepare the students for state service and 
enhance the cultural identity of the local elite and population. To this end the 
students were to be taught the most modem aspects of all fields of knowledge, 
i.e., modem languages, natural sciences and the new disciplines of philology 

Ukraine and Imperial Russia 


and history. Although the university at Kharkiv eventually was to be a creation 
of the state, it did embody the ideas and implement some of the goals that its 
main promoter, A. N. Karazyn, and his friends in the Kharkiv gubernia had 
advocated. Of even greater significance in our context was the fact that the 
university at Kharkiv served, as had the Kievan Academy in the seventeenth 
century (and, to a lesser degree, the collegium), to bring contemporary Western 
intellectual concerns and philosophical concepts to Ukraine, and then to 
transmit them to the capitals of the empire. It was a way station for professors 
and scholars hired in Western and Central Europe before they joined the 
universities of Moscow or St. Petersburg and the administrative offices of the 
central government. This was the case of such men as Balugiansky, Mali- 
novsky, Schad, and Jacob. 30 In this manner a stream of late Aufklarung jurists 
and philosophers, as well as early representatives of philosophical idealism, 
was channelled through the university at Kharkiv to fertilize both Ukraine and 
the empire. Although the historical and philological studies at Kharkiv were 
given in Russian and were Russian-centred, they also led inevitably to an 
intense concern with specifically Ukrainian contributions and background. 
From the very beginning, both at Kharkiv and at Nizhyn, attention was paid to 
the special character of Ukrainian history and language, and the triumph of 
Romanticism extended this interest to the study of popular forms of linguistic, 
literary and artistic creation. 

The efforts of the local elite to activate the cultural life of the region, as 
exemplified by the creation of the university and the lycee, are to be seen 
within the broader context of the formation of a civil society in the Russian 
Empire. Indeed, the first half of the reign of Alexander I witnessed the 
emergence of a civil society based on cultural activities and socio-political 
concerns. This can readily be illustrated by the appearance of numerous private 
societies and groups dedicated to a variety of cultural, philanthropic and 
educational purposes. The fashion was not limited to the capitals, or to Ukraine, 
but spread to other provinces and regions of the empire as well. In addition, 
they took up nationalistic, patriotic concerns during the wars against Napoleon, 
especially during the campaigns of 1812-15. After the war, European nation- 
alism and liberalism imparted a new stimulus to Russian society to continue its 
efforts at playing a public role in cultural, social (i.e., philanthropic) 
enterprises. We cannot go into details here; besides, many aspects of this devel- 
opment are still inadequately investigated. 31 The government gave its 
categorical veto to these endeavors, driving the younger, more energetic and 
impatient generation into “dissidence” or the underground opposition that 
culminated in the Decembrist uprising. 

In a sense, government suppression of civil society’s velleities at securing a 
share in the public, cultural and social life of the empire tolled the death knell 
for the ancien-regime notion of regional autonomy as well. Indeed, the kind of 
civil society that had tried to constitute itself in the late eighteenth and the first 


Marc Raeff 

quarter of the nineteenth centuries was a direct heir to the estate-based regional 
and corporate autonomies of the well-ordered police state and its cameralist 
philosophy. In the case of Western Europe, these autonomies had been a major 
element in the constitution of an Offentlichkeit (i.e., public opinion), a counter- 
weight to centralized bureaucracy and absolutism . 32 And as an outcome of their 
“conversion” to the notion of Enlightenment and Aufklarung, these autonomous 
corporate bodies had fostered the ideologization of the concepts of unlimited 
progress and material prosperity of individuals and groups, as well as 
opposition to absolutism and enlightened despotism. 

The Russian government’s suppression of the first manifestations of civil 
society undercut the efforts of regional solidarities as well, for it turned the 
state against all forms of private initiative in public life, and in so doing stifled 
the attempts of the Ukrainian elite to constitute itself as a civil society and 
reactivate its regional identity. Most members of the elite, involved and in- 
tegrated as they were into the imperial establishment, acquiesced meekly and 
withdrew from the stage. From then on, the state viewed with suspicion and 
enmity all manifestations of regional and private initiative. It had totally inter- 
nalized the Enlightenment concept of uniformity and was unable and unwilling 
to accede to pleas for diversity and autonomy. The ruling establishment could 
not — did not want to — accept the juridical and historical arguments on which 
these pleas were based. It rejected the constraints of history, except to the 
limited extent that these could serve to validate its own position (and even 
there, it was very much divided in its own mind: witness the official polemics 
and censorship conflicts in the reign of Nicholas I over questions of Russian 

The old regionalism was dead. A new nationalism, based on historicist an- 
thropology, philology and folk culture (or what was thought to be folk culture) 
was emerging under the influence of Romanticism, idealistic philosophy, and 
the government’s complete refusal to grant civil society an active role. The new 
nationalism was not only very different in kind from the preceding sense of 
regional and historical identity, but was also in sharp opposition to the state, to 
the imperial establishment. The traditional elite of Ukraine, which had largely 
become russified, was only marginally involved in this new form and trend. 
The first and most energetic propagators of this new sense of national identity 
were the intellectuals (academics) who systematically developed its scholarly 
and philosophic justification . 33 They directed their efforts not at members of the 
elite but at those groups of society that had been denied, or had lost, the 
traditional regional privileges — the small landowners, the urban population, and 
eventually also the common people (peasantry). Because of harsh repression 
and persecution by the St. Petersburg government, such educational propaganda 
was carried out more easily from outside. This was to be the role of Galicia 
(Lviv). But this opens up another, altogether different chapter which is beyond 
the ken of my knowledge. 

Ukraine and Imperial Russia 


In conclusion I wish simply to restate some of the main points which, to my 
mind, emerge from the material that I have examined. The first point is that 
“nationalism” in our usual sense is a phenomenon that makes its appearance 
strictly in the nineteenth century (or at the earliest in the late eighteenth 
century, in some instances). It should be sharply distinguished from the claims 
of regional and estate autonomies of ancien-regime states and societies. It can- 
not be extrapolated backward into the earlier period. Not only did ancien- 
regime regionalism refer to specific historical and legal events to justify its 
claims to autonomy, if not outright independence, but its concern was not the 
“nation.” It was only interested in the sense of identity and self-image of partic- 
ular elites that were in existence at the moment the claims were raised. It was 
not an all-embracing psychological, political and cultural notion, but a limited 
pragmatic demand for the maintenance of traditional modes of public life. It is 
uncritical and anachronistic to project the concerns and basic assumptions of 
the new nationalism onto earlier forms of regional and social autonomy. 

The second point that emerges from the material is this: the association of 
ancien-regime autonomism with the ideas of cameralism and the practices of 
the well-ordered police state produced an immanent developmental dynamic in 
both policy and thought. This consisted in the reception of the Enlightenment 
and of its notions of uniformity of human nature, set phases of cultural devel- 
opment, and belief in the universality of progress. The reception of these 
notions made for greater readiness to integrate into the larger unit — the empire. 
The pressures of material and social advantage, as well as the promises of 
cultural and political reward, led the Ukrainian elite to abandon its stand on 
regional autonomy and to acquiesce in its russification-both cultural (since it 
was universal) and social (since it preserved the elite’s position and furthered 
its interests). The displacement of cameralism and well-ordered police state 
notions in favour of those of the Enlightenment in the political culture of 
imperial Russia, however, shifted the creative balance from Ukraine to St. 
Petersburg and Moscow. The modem Russian culture that was the outcome 
proved so dynamic as to become overwhelmingly attractive to the regional 
elites at the turn of the eighteenth century. 

Thirdly, the ancien-regime autonomism had been capable of a compromise 
that both preserved regional identity and safeguarded imperial interests. But the 
new nationalism, rooted in the exclusivism and particularism of idealistic 
philosophy and Romantic historicism, was bound to clash with an establish- 
ment based on the drive toward uniformity and “rational constructivism” of the 
Enlightenment. The imperial government, acting on the basis of eighteenth- 
century conceptions and practice of cultural uniformity and universality of 
developmental laws, could neither understand nor accept national claims based 
on such totally different premises. The new nationalisms, on the other hand, 
saw in these claims the very basis of their existence and identity, and naturally 
could not compromise or surrender any of them. 


Marc Raeff 

Lastly, my analysis has shown the crucial roles of the educational 
establishments of Kiev and Kharkiv: Kiev for the transition from Muscovite to 
imperial political culture; Kharkiv for the intellectual transformation that 
fostered the russification of the elites on the one hand, but paved the way for 
their reception of idealism and Romanticism, which proved to be the necessary 
preconditions of modem nationalism, on the other. A great deal remains to be 
done to understand and clarify the mechanisms involved in these two 
transitional stages and periods. In particular, the role of Kharkiv in the 
chronology and character of the ideological and cultural transformation which 
proved so crucial to the destinies of both Ukraine and Russia remains to be 
studied in depth. But we cannot obtain reliable results unless we insist on the 
differences in contexts, concepts and trends, and stress the importance of 
chronological divides. Never forget Fustel de Coulanges’ admonition: en 
histoire, Vessentiel est le sens des mots. 


1. In addition to the general literature on the Kievan Academy see also K. V. 
Kharlampovich, Zapadnorusskie pravoslavnye shkoly XVI i nachala XVII v. 
(Kazan, 1898); idem, Malo- rossiiskoe vliianie na Velikorusskuiu tserkovnuiu 
zhizn (Kazan 1914); G. Florovsky, Pud russkogo bogosloviia, (reprint Paris, 
1982); N. Petrov, “O slovesnykh naukakh i literaturnykh zaniatiiakh v Kievskoi 
akademii ot nachala i do preobrazovaniia v 1819 g.,” Trudy Kievskoi dukhovnoi 
Akademii, 1866, 2: 305-30, 3: 343-88, 552-569; idem, “Iz istorii gomelitiki v 
staroi Kievskoi akademii,” ibid., 1866, 1: 86-124. 

2. Frank Sysyn, “The Problem of Nobilities in the Ukrainian Past: The Polish 
Period, 1569-1648,” in I. L. Rudnytsky, ed., Rethinking Ukrainian History 
(Edmonton, 1981), 29-102. 

3. A. M. Panchenko, Russkaia stikhotvornaia kultura XVII veka (Leningrad, 1973); 
A. V. Petrov, “Odin iz bibliofilov XVIII v. (Stefan Iavorskii i ego predsmertnoe 
proshchanie s knigami,” Russkii bibliofil, 1914, no. 5; I. A. Shliapkin, Dmitrii 
Rostovskii i ego vremia (St. Petersburg, 1891); Io. Tatarskii, Simeon Polotskii 
(ego zhizn i deiatelnost )(Moscow , 1886). 

4. G. Ia. Golenchenko, “Belorusy v russkom knigopechatanii,” Kniga — issledovaniia 
i materialy , XIII (Moscow, 1966): 99-119 and I. M. Kudriavtsev, “Izdatelskaia 
deiatelnost Posolskogo Prikaza,” ibid., VIII (Moscow, 1963): 179-244. 

5. M. Raeff, “Transition from Muscovite to Imperial Culture” (Public Lecture 
delivered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art)” in Wolf Moskovich et al., eds. 
Russian Literature and History — In Honour of Professor Ilya Serman (Jerusalem, 
1989), 170-77. 

6. M. Raeff, The Well-Ordered Police State: Social and Institutional Change 
through Law in the Germanies and Russia, 1600-1800 (New Haven, 1983). 

Ukraine and Imperial Russia 


7. Cf. in particular the studies of and in the circle of Dietrich Gerhard, Alte und neue 
Welt in vergleichender Geschichts- betrachtung (Gottingen, 1962) and 
D. Gerhard, ed., Standische Vertretung in Europa im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert 
(Gottingen, 1969). Also Volker Press, Inaugural lecture. University of Tubingen, 

8. V. A. Miakotin, Ocherki sotsialnoi istorii Ukrainy v XVII-XVIII vv., 3 vols. 
(Prague, 1924-6); V. A. Diadychenko, Narysy suspilno-politychnoho ustroiu livo- 
berezhnoi Ukrainy (Kiev, 1959). 

9. Z. E. Kohut, “Problems in Studying the Post-Khmelnytsky Ukrainian Elite (1650s 
to 1830s),” in Rudnytsky, ed., Rethinking Ukrainian History , 103-19 and his 
Russian Centralism and Ukrainian Autonomy — Imperial Absorption of the 
Hetmanate 1760s-1830s, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute Monograph Series 
(Cambridge, Mass., 1988). 

10. On D. M. Golitsyn’s reading, cf. N. V. Golitsyn, “Novye dannye o biblioteke 
kniazia D. M. Golitsyna,” Chteniia OIDR, 195, 1900, bk. 4, sect. 4, pp. 1-16; 
B. A. Grabova, B. M. Kloss, V. I. Koretskii, “K istorii Arkhangelskoi biblioteki 
kn. D. M. Golitsyna,” Arkheograficheskii ezhegodnik za 1978 god (Moscow, 
1979): 238-53. Cf. also general studies of S. P. Luppov, Kniga v Rossii v XVII 
veke (Leningrad, 1970); M. I. Slukhovskii, Bibliotechnoe delo v Rossii do XVIII 
veka (Moscow, 1968); idem, Russkaia biblioteka XVI-XVII vv. (Moscow, 1973); I. 
de Madariaga, “Portrait of an Eighteenth Century Russian Statesman: Prince 
Dmitry Mikhailovich Golitsyn,” Slavonic and East European Review, vol. 62, no. 
1 (January 1984): 36-60. 

11. D. E. Ransel, The Politics of Catherinian Russia (New Haven, 1975); John P. 
LeDonne, “Appointments to the Russian Senate 1762-1796,” Cahiers du monde 
russe et sovietique, XVI- 1 (janvier-mars 1975): 27-56. 

12. Cf., for example, N. Polonska-Vasylenko, “The Settlement of the Southern 
Ukraine 1750-1775,” Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts & Sciences in the 
U.S., IV-V, nos. 4( 14)- 1( 15), 1955; H. Auerbach, Die Besiedlung der Sudukraine 
in den Jahren 1774-1787 (Wiesbaden, 1965); V. M. Kabuzan, Zaselenie 
Novorossii v XVIII i pervoi polovine XIX veka (Moscow, 1976); E. I. Druzhinina, 
Severnoe prichernomore 1775-1800 (Moscow, 1959); idem, Iuzhnaia Ukraina 
1800-1825 (Moscow, 1970). 

13. J. P. LeDonne, op. cit., and biographies of persons named. Cf. also D. Saunders, 
The Ukrainian Impact on Russian Culture 1750-1850 (Edmonton, 1985). 

14. Instructions of Catherine II to P. A. Rumiantsev in Sbornik IRIO, VII, (1871): 

15. Sbornik IRIO, 68 (1889): 127-248. 

16. Sbornik IRIO, 68 (1889): 483-662. 

17. G. A. Maksimovich, Vybory i nakazy Malorossii v Zakono- datelnuiu Komissiiu 
1767 g. (Nizhyn, 1917). 

18. Sbornik IRIO, 144 (1914): 3-135. 

19. M. Raeff, “Uniformity, Diversity and the Imperial Administration in the Reign of 
Catherine II,” Osteuropa in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Festschrift fur Gunther 


Marc Raeff 

Stokl) (Koln, 1977), 97-113. Cf. also, for another area, A. Kappeler, Russlands 
erste Nationalitaten. Das Zarenreich und die Volker der Mittleren Wolga vom 16. 
bis 19. Jahrhundert (Koln and Vienna, 1982). 

20. “Proshenie malorossiiskogo shliakhetstva...,” Kievskaia starina, no. 6 (1883): 
317-45; Sbomik IRIO, 32 (1881): 573-85 and 36 (1882): addendum doc. #33, 

21. Druzhinina, op. cit.; M. Raeff, “In the Imperial Manner,” in Catherine II: A 
Profde (New York, 1977): 197-245. 

22. Saunders, op. cit. 

23. H. A. Poletyka’s speech to the Commission of 1767 in Sbornik IRIO, 36 (1882), 

340-56; N. Vasylenko, “Zbirka materiialiv do istorii Livoberezhnoi Ukrainy...,” 
Ukrainskyi arkheohrafichnyi zbimyk, I (1926): 142-61; S. D. Nos, 

“Blagodarstvennoe pismo G. A. Poletiki...,” Kievskaia starina, no. 11 (1890): 
334-35; cf. also F. E. Sysyn, “Ukrainian-Polish Relations in the Seventeenth 
Century: The Role of National Consciousness and National Conflict in the 
Khmelnytsky Movement” in P. J. Potichnyj, ed., Poland and Ukraine: Past and 
Present (Edmonton and Toronto, 1980), 58-82; D. Miller, “Prevrashchenie 
kazatskoi starshyny...,” Kievskaia starina, 56-7 (January-April 1897); 
L. Okynshevych, “Znachne viiskove tovarystvo v Ukraini-Hetmanshchyni XVII- 
XVIII st.,” Zapysky Naukovoho tovarystva im. Shevchenka, vol. 157 (Munich 
1948); O. Ohloblyn, “Ukrainian Autonomists of the 1780s and 1790s and Count 
P. A. Rumiantsev-Zadunaisky,” Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and 
Sciences in the U.S. VI, nos. 3, 4 (21-2), 1958, 1313-26. 

24. D. I. Bagalei, Opyt istorii Kharkovskogo universiteta (Kharkiv, 1893-8, 1904); 
A. Ia. Efimenko, Istoriia ukrainskogo naroda, vyp. I-II, (St. Petersburg, 1906); 
A. S. Lebedev, “Kharkovskii kollegium kak prosvetitelnyi tsentr Slobodskoi 
Ukrainy...,” Chteniia OIDR, 1885, bk. 4, sect. 1, pp. 1-103; Saunders, op. cit. 

25. Bagalei, op. cit., 41-2; Lebedev, op. cit.; also D. Bagalei, “Dva kulturnykh 
deiatelia iz sredy kharkovskogo dukhovenstva...” in his Ocherki iz russkoi istorii 
(Kharkiv, 1918), 1: 18-53. 

26. On the distinction between Enlightenment and Aufklarung, cf. M. Raeff, “Les 
Slaves, les Allemands et les Lumieres,” Revue Canadienne d' etudes slaves, 1^4 
(1967): 521-51; also F. Valjavec, Geschichte der abendlandischen Aufklarung 
(Vienna and Munich, 1961). 

27. On these personages, cf. Russkii biograficheskii slovar. The special literature on 
Skovoroda is extensive; for preliminary orientation see J. T. Fuhrmann, “The First 
Russian Philosopher’s Search for the Kingdom of God” in L. B. Blair, ed., Essays 
on Russian Intellectual History (Walter Prescott Memorial Lectures, V) (Austin 
and London, 1971), 33-72 and Skovoroda — Philosophe ukrainien (Paris, 1976). 

28. Efimenko, op. cit.; Kohut, op. cit. 

29. Cf. J. T. Flynn, The University Reform of Tsar Alexander 1, 1802-1835 
(Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1988). G. A. Kushelev- 
Bezborodko, Litsei kniazia Bezborodka (St. Petersburg, 1859); N. A. Lavrovskii, 
“Gimnaziia vysshykh nauk kn. Bezborodko v Nezhine 1820-1823,” Izvestiia 
istorichesko-filologicheskogo instituta kn. Bezborodko v Nezhine, III (1879), 

Ukraine and Imperial Russia 


sect. 2, pp. 102-258 and the material to be found in Sbornik istoriko-filolo- 
gicheskogo obshchestva, Nezhin, vols. 1-8, 1896-1912/13. Also cf. Orest Pelech, 
“Towards a Historical Sociology of Ukrainian Ideologies in the Russian Empire 
of the 1830s and 1840s,” unpubl. Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 1976. 

30. Bagalei, Opyt istorii Kharkovskogo universiteta and Saunders, op. cit., and 
biographies of personalities mentioned. 

31. M. Iu. Lotman, “Dekabristy v povsednevnoi zhizni (Bytovoe povedenie kak 
istoriko-psikhologicheskaia kategoriia)” in V. G. Bazanov and V. E. Vatsura, eds., 
Literaturnoe nasledstvo dekabristov (Leningrad, 1975), 25-74. 

32. R. Kosellek, Kritik und Krise (Munich, 1959); J. Habermas, Strukturwandel der 
Offentlichkeit (Neuwied, 1965). 

33. M. Hroch, Die Vorhampfer der nationalen Bewegung bei den kleinen Volkern 
Europas (Prague, 1968) (Acta universitatis Carolinae Philosophica et historica — 
Monographia XXIV). 

Edgar Hosch 

Paul I and Ukraine 

The processes underlying domestic policy during the reign of Paul I 
(1796-1801) have not always received due attention in historical research. Most 
historians of Russia still seem to doubt that in this confusing period between 
the glorious reigns of Catherine II and Alexander I, in this “stormy passage be- 
tween two major seas,” 1 the tsarist empire saw the introduction of policies that 
pointed to the future and were important for the “modernization” of inherited 
social and economic structures. To be sure, V. O. Kliuchevsky criticized the 
“rather widespread disregard of the significance of this short-lived government” 
in the famous series of lectures on Russian history that he delivered toward the 
end of the last century, rejecting the view of this period as “a kind of accidental 
episode in Russian history.” 2 Nevertheless, little has been done so far in 
specialized research to correct this one-sided picture and to attempt a more 
balanced interpretation of the reign. Preliminary research presented in 1916 by 
M. V. Klochkov, 3 whose institutional focus appears “old-fashioned” today, 4 has 
been taken up very hesitantly by later historians. 

Only recently have there been indications that at least some aspects of the 
domestic and foreign policies of Paul I are being better elucidated in the light 
of new sources. In 1979 Hugh Ragsdale published a number of relevant studies 
in a collection that gives a good insight into the present state of research in 
Western (Anglo-Saxon) countries. 5 Not long ago, in an essay on the imperial 
regime during the reign of Paul I that appeared in Vestnik Leningradskogo 
universiteta, the Soviet scholar S. M. Kazantsev enjoined his Marxist coleagues 
not to limit themselves to a general condemnation of Paul’s reactionary 
administration. If the tsar’s frequently cited “liberal” concessions are to be 
comprehended and placed into their proper context, a more discriminating 
treatment is required. 6 

“Modern scholars tend towards sympathy with Paul,” notes Roderick 
McGrew, not without a critical undertone, regarding these partial attempts at 
rehabilitation. He rightly points out the devastating effects of Paul’s despotic 
ruthlessness and his lack of understanding of the political process and human 
relations. For objective reasons, Paul did not lend himself to depiction as a 
misunderstood Romantic hero, but came to be regarded as a tyrant and a 
political incompetent. 7 This negative overall judgement is quite legitimate, but 
should not obscure the fact that many legislative and administrative measures 
introduced by Paul I and his advisors and aides were rational in conception, and 
that their diplomatic initiatives and military-strategic undertakings were well- 

Paul I and Ukraine 


founded. 8 Perhaps the tsar’s policy toward Ukraine can serve as an instructive 
example of this thesis. 


In the context of Russo-Ukrainian relations in recent centuries, from the 
incorporation of Left-Bank Ukraine into the tsarist empire after 1654 until the 
fall of the Russian autocracy, the reign of Paul I certainly does not mark any 
breakthrough with far-reaching consequences for the co-existence of the two 
neighbouring peoples. Nor can it boast spectacular events such as those of the 
preceding period, when Catherine II profited from the partitions of Poland to 
unite almost all areas of Ukrainian settlement under the sceptre of the Russian 
tsars. The reign of Paul I cannot compare with the subsequent glorious period 
of Alexander I, whose progressive constitutional ideas and experiments pointed 
to innovative methods, especially in the integration of the western borderlands 
of the empire, with their diverse customs, legal traditions and institutions. The 
Ukrainian areas, which were divided into a number of gubemiias, are treated 
here only as a territorial frame of reference in order to bring the domestic 
reforms of Paul I, together with their specific causes and consequences, into 
sharper focus, as well as to elucidate the intentions of the tsar and his advisors 
and the general topic of continuity and change in Russian nationality policy. 

This article does not open up any new, hitherto unknown sources on the 
domestic policy of Paul I. Only those materials published in the official 
collection of laws of the Russian Empire are used and analyzed with respect to 
areas of Ukrainian settlement. 9 In regard to the territory of partitioned Poland, 
the comprehensive study by P. Zhukovich provides valuable preliminary 
findings and will frequently be used as a reference. 10 

It is well known that legal texts reflect actual administrative practice only in 
the rarest cases — certainly not in Russia at the end of the eighteenth century. 
Only more or less substantiated conjectures can be made about the concrete 
effects of particular measures taken by the central government. The frequent 
repetition of the same decrees indicates that legislation was slow to affect 
everyday life. As sources relevant to this problem are not yet available in 
quantity, historical interpretation can deal only with the intentions and avowed 
goals of the legislators. 

In the period under consideration, Ukrainians did not, of course, appear as a 
national unit of reference affected by legislative measures. Legislative acts re- 
ferred primarily to a whole region or to individual gubemiias and the social 
groups inhabiting them; there were no particular measures restricted to Ukrain- 
ian territory. Generally speaking, these laws were conceived as means of 
implementing state policy in border areas within a multi-ethnic environment. 
They aimed primarily at stronger integration and centralization, the main- 
tenance of law and order, and the effective suppression of dangerous 
revolutionary stirrings. According to the Senate ukase of 16 November 1797," 


Edgar Hosch 

all the peoples that had come under Russia’s sceptre should, “like the limbs of 
a body and children of one father,” enjoy the same rights and lead an equally 
happy life. 

On a broader scale, the Ukrainian population was most probably first 
affected by measures dealing with the peasantry. No special “national” compo- 
nent can be discerned in this policy, but one must have emerged as a result of 
Paul’s restoration of the aristocratic Polish character of local administration and 
justice in this south-western border area of the empire. 12 The donation of land 
to deserving nobles is of secondary importance in this context, and there is no 
indication of a conscious policy of Russification. It seems that Paul followed 
his mother’s example in the generous distribution of land, but his opportunities 
were considerably limited in the south-west because of a land shortage. Russian 
peasants were most affected by this policy. 13 Those who benefited from it were 
primarily Polish nobles, to whom properties confiscated by Catherine II were 
returned, as well as individual privileged groups of peasants who still claimed 
inherited property rights. 14 

Significant changes in the social structure of the southern gubemiias 
(Katerynoslav, Voznesensk, the Caucasus, and the province of Tavriia) were 
brought about by the repeal of the peasants’ freedom of movement, which was 
ordained on 12 December 1796. 15 The measure was justified by the need to 
restore order and to secure property rights in perpetuity, but in practice it was 
equivalent to a further extension of serfdom. It put an end to the migration of 
dissatisfied peasants, which had functioned as a kind of regulatory measure to 
counteract the all too blatant intensification of demands on the lower strata of 
the population by landlords and by the state. The mitigation or remission of 
burdensome obligations (e.g., tax reduction, abolition of the grain tax 16 and 
pasture tax, 17 the deregulation of the salt trade, 18 etc.), as well as the tsar’s 
appeal to limit peasant labour obligations to three days per week, 19 were only 
makeshift corrective measures intended to blunt the growing potential for 
unrest. The frequent disturbances in the western and south-western regions, 
which provided the government with repeated opportunities for intervention, 
serve to indicate the very considerable problems of integration in the former 
Polish territories of Ukraine. 

It would appear that another aspect of Paul’s policy toward Ukraine 
consisted of numerous direct measures intended to foster the active economic 
development of the southern region by opening up new resources and strength- 
ening enterpreneurial initiative. This policy, with its material incentives for 
promising economic enterprises, was tailored more to the “foreigners” (Greeks, 
Armenians, Jews) living in South Russia than to eager social climbers from the 
local peasantry. 20 The land surveys and cartography projects commissioned by 
the authorities were an essential element of this long-term economic policy, 
whose consequences the Ukrainian peasants did not always consider 
beneficial. 21 

Paul I and Ukraine 


In many respects, the government of Paul I carried on the plans and 
initiatives of Catherine II. Even more than his ill-regarded predecessor, Paul I 
emphasized the consolidation of state finances in order to “place the empire’s 
future economy on such a firm basis that our revenue will suffice to cover nec- 
essary expenses.” 22 He hoped to achieve this lofty goal by means of strict 
accounting, reduction of government spending by trimming the bureaucracy, 
and a more balanced distribution of burdens among his subjects. Compared 
with Catherine II, Paul I sounded new accents from the very beginning: a 
stronger emphasis on the idea of legitimacy and legal security; guarantees of 
hereditary privilege and prescriptive rights. The new ruler was at pains to 
counterpose this approach to the ruthless proceedings of his mother, both in 
international relations and in domestic policy. 

As a successor to the throne, Paul I had already distanced himself from the 
practice of unscrupulous power politics vis-a-vis his weak Polish neighbour and 
had deplored the violent encroachments on the right of autonomy carried out by 
Catherine II in the western borderlands of the empire as part of the unification 
of Russia’s administrative system. 23 Paul’s teacher, Nikita Ivanovich Panin, had 
strengthened his will to change policy, to “eradicate the Potemkin spirit,” 24 and 
had sharpened his eye for the evident abuses caused by legislative arbitrariness 
and favouritism. Paul’s written proclamations of this period make apparent his 
determination to bring about a moral and institutional renewal of the Russian 
autocracy in the spirit of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment by means of 
policies opposed to those followed during the hated regime of his mother. 25 

From a purely quantitative point of view, Paul undoubtedly ranks far ahead 
of Catherine II as a legislator; his pathological addiction to regulations drove 
him to pay ever greater attention to detail — indeed, “he was obsessed with 
details.” 26 But he was also firmly opposed to previous administrative practice. 
Paul’s demonstrative release of imprisoned Polish patriots immediately follow- 
ing his accession to the throne was already an indication of his declared intent 
to make reparations and a promise to adhere to ethical norms of behaviour in 
international relations. The rejection of his mother’s policies was continued in 
the partial abolition of her administrative reforms in the western border areas, 
which, in the words of Marc Raeff, had been the first phase of a “consistent and 
conscious policy of eliminating traditional, historically conditioned administra- 
tive units in favor of a pyramidal structure of identical subdivisions,” and had 
been intended to pave the way for integration and “uniformity, first 
administrative and economic, then institutional and social, and finally 
cultural.” 27 

The establishment of new gubemiia boundaries in the Russian Empire, 
enacted on 12 December 1796, a few weeks after the change of administration, 
ended the first period of restoration. 28 It saw the re-establishment of old legal 
privileges and a restitution of traditional institutions by means of a series of 
uniform decrees for the “privileged” provinces of Little Russia, Latvia, Estonia, 


Edgar Hosch 

Vyborg, Courland, Lithuania, Minsk, Belorussia, Volhynia, Podolia and Kiev. 29 
When the Little Russian gubemiia was created out of the three former 
governorships on the Left Bank, with a new administrative centre at Chemihiv, 
it was explicitly declared on 30 November 1796 that the administrative and 
legal constitution was to be re-established “as it had formerly existed according 
to local laws and traditional customs,” and that the selection of judges should 
be carried out “with the strictest regard for Little Russian law.” 30 At the same 
time important decisions had already been taken concerning the future 
administrative structure of Ukrainian territory. Specifically, the formation of a 
separate Kiev gubemiia on the Right Bank out of formerly Polish areas was 
announced. 31 The revision of the empire’s administrative boundaries was to in- 
clude the re-establishment of the so-called Slobodian Ukraine (Kharkiv 
gubemiia) within the frontiers of 1765, the formation of a gubemiia of New 
Russia in the south out of Voznesensk province and the Tavriian region, and 
the partition of the south-western lands acquired from Poland into the 
gubemiias of Volhynia and Podolia. 32 

It would certainly be unwarranted to conclude from the execution of these 
decrees that there had been a return to previous conditions and a restoration of 
former rights of autonomy in the western border gubemiias. Despite his 
emphatically legalistic attitude, the new emperor was hardly inclined to give up 
the effective instruments of unified decision-making authority that had been 
acquired by the central government as a result of Catherine’s reforms. State 
supervision was in fact strengthened in the newly acquired western provinces 
by establishing the new office of inspector (fiskal)P The governor remained an 
omnipotent plenipotentiary of the central government, with his bureaucracy and 
the fullness of his authority, as did the financial administration, which overrode 
the gubemiia officials. Military recruitment had already been taken out of the 
hands of local administrators. 34 

Despite his far-reaching concessions to social forms that had evolved 
historically in the western border areas, Paul I did not want to legitimize his 
rule by means of a rigid, reactionary policy. Rather, it is characteristic of the 
domestic policies for which he was responsible that legalistic adherence to 
principle was combined with surprisingly far-reaching pragmatism in matters of 
detail. Considering the negative consequences that made themselves apparent in 
the later years of his reign, it is clear — as McGrew correctly stresses 35 — that 
there was a striking discrepancy between the sublime principles borrowed from 
the political philosophy of enlightened European absolutism and the “actual 
political behavior” of the emperor. From the outset there was ample discretion 
for ad hoc decisions to clarify dubious facts or settle competing demands. 

In determining the precise borders of the new gubemiias, the governors were 
granted a full measure of regulatory discretion according to local conditions 
and requirements. It is obvious that when this decision was made consider- 
ations of practicality took precedence over all too anxious considerations 

Paul I and Ukraine 


having to do with possible historical or even ethnographic associations. 36 For 
example, the governor of Slobodian Ukraine, Privy Councillor Teplov, 
demanded authority over Great Russian villages in order to avoid the 
dismemberment of his gubemiia, indicating in a petition to the Senate that this 
would ensure better administration and division of territory. At the same time 
he offered to relinquish authority over scattered Ukrainian settlements that had 
been administered from Slobodian Ukraine before 1765, but had meanwhile 
been attached to neighbouring gubemiias. 37 During the implementation of the 
imperial decree on efficient partition of territory, procedures regarding the 
subdivision of individual gubemiias were applied rather schematically at times. 
For practical reasons, the dissolution of old administrative centres and the 
upgrading of certain rapidly developing settlements to county seats could 
scarcely have been avoided in any case. 38 Moreover, it would hardly have been 
possible to formulate binding regulations for the restoration of previous 
conditions in an area whose administrative division had been changed several 
times in the course of the eighteenth century, especially since the Polish 

In the numerous disputed cases that awaited definitive resolution, the central 
administration generally did not close its mind to well-founded arguments 
presented by local authorities. Not infrequently, workable regulations were ap- 
plied in neighbouring gubemiias. To take a typical example, the newly estab- 
lished Kiev gubemiia had been given a peculiarly hybrid character by its 
unification with Right-Bank territory. It is true that during the entire reign of 
Paul I the traditional associations with the Left Bank were maintained by 
successive military governors of Kiev, who were in charge of the Little Russian 
government, 39 but the territorial reorientation toward the west inevitably 
brought Kiev closer to the bordering gubemiias of Podolia, Volhynia and 
Minsk in everyday administrative and judicial practice. In order to regularize 
the administration of justice, it was necessary not only to reorganize the court 
system in Kiev so as to establish an appeal procedure and determine juris- 
dictional authority, but also to bring about a more comprehensive integration of 
routine procedure and to co-ordinate the applicable legal norms. 40 These norms 
were based on different traditions — Lithuanian, Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, and 
German. Despite the continuing paramount significance of the Lithuanian 
Statute, it had proved impossible to establish binding legal norms during the 
eighteenth century. 41 Pragmatic solutions were now sought by the Senate, 
which had been asked to serve as an arbitrator. The Senate applied its remedies 
on the vexed questions of the language to be used in court and the deadline for 
appeals in judicial cases to the neighbouring Ukrainian gubemiias. In both 
cases an impossible situation had been created in the attempt to carry out the 
imperial decree of 30 November 1796, which required the re-establishment in 
Little Russia of the traditional cort system according to previous law and 


Edgar Hosch 

Regarding the question of appeal deadlines, the local authorities pointed out 
in a memorandum that the Little Russian nobility adhered to the Lithuanian 
Statute, “in which no period of time is established for appeal of a decision, but 
it is simply stated: Where these statutes do not apply, other Christian laws are 
to be obeyed; accordingly, in 1756, the Senate followed the book of civil 
jurisprudence, according to which only citizens can be tried, and in which a 
period of six weeks is prescribed for filing an appeal in Little Russia, and a 
period of eighteen weeks is prescribed for an appeal to the Senate against the 
hetman’s decision, since at that time there was no fixed appeal period in Russia 
either. However, since Your Imperial Majesty has been pleased to ordain by 
decrees of 17 August and 13 September 1797 a period of one year for appeals 
in Great Russia and Poland, the Director of the Little Russian Gubemiia, Field 
Marshal and Knight Count Saltykov, asks the Senate: in Little Russia, should 
one observe the former period of eighteen weeks, or the period of one year?” 42 
In its verdict the Senate decided on a procedure that attempted to do justice to 
local usage as well as to state interest by means of a legal combination: 
“Having compared all the conditions heretofore described, the Senate is of the 
following opinion: in order to ensure the uniform observance of the said period 
in the gubemiias of Little Russia and Kiev, in consideration of their great 
distance from St. Petersburg and of the fact that both Poles and Little Russians 
are under their jurisdiction, to extend to one year the period of appeal against 
superior court decisions to the Senate, with due regard for the provisions of the 
Ukase of 17 August concerning the court’s power to delay the execution of 
judgments, but to retain the former period of six weeks within the gubemiia.” 43 

Pragmatic considerations also served to justify deviations from previous 
practice concerning the language question in order to secure overriding imperial 
interests. The Polish language was only to be used in the lower — assize and 
local — courts for all matters. In superior courts, bilingualism was established as 
the norm, because here, according to instructions, 44 it was not only elected 
representatives of the local nobility who participated, but also secretaries and 
crown councillors. Moreover, the gubemiia administration served as an organ 
of control, and the Senate was involved in its capacity as court of appeal. 
Correspondence of the superior court with authorities who used the Polish lan- 
guage in their internal affairs was also to be conducted in the Russian 
language. 45 In a basic instruction of 25 December 1799 it was made clear that 
the restitution of former rights and privileges in Little Russia and the other 
gubemiias had not altered the “general political principles” of gubemiia 
administration and financial management. Accordingly, those residing in the 
privileged gubemiias would also have to observe standard government regu- 
lations in their dealings with the central and gubemiia authorities. 46 

Nor did the administration of Paul I allow itself to be handicapped unneces- 
sarily by zealously proclaimed principles of a “new” policy in other areas. 
When it came to matters essential to the stability of the empire — restoring 

Paul I and Ukraine 


government finances, securing tax revenue, recruiting competent bureaucrats — 
existing provincial rights of autonomy were abolished without regard for legal 
scruple. The nobility, as a source of support for the monarchy, appears to have 
been confirmed in its hereditary rights, but at the same time it was put under 
strict obligation to serve the state, regardless of the privileges granted by 
Catherine II. The nobles were subjected to the principle of equality before the 
law and made to bear their share of obligations to the state — experiences that 
could at times be painful. Involvement in the administration of justice, which 
again became a right of the nobility of the “privileged” provinces, meant the 
assumption of a considerable financial burden when the costs of maintaining 
gubemiia courts and police were abruptly shifted to the nobility. In order to 
ensure the equal distribution of these costs among the noble estates, a ukase of 
18 December 1798 required that each gubemiia make an annual lump sum 
payment to the treasury. 47 A total of 1,640,000 rubles was collected as follows: 

35.000 from Slobodian Ukraine; 80,000 from Little Russia; 30,000 from New 
Russia; 63,000 from Volhynia; 65,000 from Podolia; 72,000 from Kiev; and 

16.000 rubles from the Slobodian landlords in the Don Cossack region. This 
was justified by pointing out the nobility’s privileged position: “As noted 
above, We have limited the gubemiia budget to the absolute necessities: 
whereas the greater part of it is used to ensure the administration of justice, the 
maintenance of public order and the safeguarding of general security — all 
offices held by members of the nobility; and whereas, in addition, this first 
estate of the empire has been treated preferentially as an object of Our 
sovereign favour, and has again received a new proof of Our solicitude through 
the establishment of an assistance bank for its benefit in order to maintain noble 
families in full possession of their property, We consider it equitable that they 
provide for the general welfare out of their own means...” 48 

Because of the increasing militarization of the administrative apparatus and 
the growth of state supervision in every important sphere of activity, local 
nobilities continually lost power during the reign of Paul I. This trend proved 
irreversible, culminating with the displacement of elected noble representatives 
by state appointees who were not always chosen from the local aristocracy, 49 as 
well as with a further increase in the power and decision-making authority of 
the governor as agent of the central authorities. 

The interests of the state were protected with casuistic subtlety against all- 
too-excessive claims of hereditary rights and privileges, and the satisfaction of 
egregious demands was avoided. With a ukase of 16 September 1797 Paul I 
confirmed the traditional privileges of the citizens of Kiev, as he had already 
done for the Greeks of Nizhyn. 50 The ukase decreed that “the citizens of this 
old residence of Our forefathers, who rest with God, are hereby guaranteed 
inviolable possession of all their rights, liberties, privileges, city revenues and 
benefits by the Autocrat of all the Rusians, just as these have been granted to 
the said city by the patents and privileges of Our ancestors, which we renew 


Edgar Hosch 

and confirm by the present decree.” 51 Soon afterward the citizens of Kiev 
presented a patent granted by Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich in 1654 that exempted 
the townspeople from military service. They asked for the remission of re- 
cruitment obligations, especially the payments imposed on merchants in lieu of 
recruitment. The Senate, which dealt with this issue, at first objected to recog- 
nizing the applicability of the privilege to contemporaries because of the 
changes that had occurred in the composition of the Kiev citizenry and the 
undeniable territorial changes that had taken place. When Paul I insisted that 
comprehensive restoration of the old privileges be applied literally, i.e., limited 
to the same number of merchants and citizens who had been granted the 
privilege in 1654, the Senate was obliged to conduct a laborious historical in- 
vestigation. Reliable figures on the composition of the Kiev citizenry in 1654 
were no longer to be found in the archives, according to the Senate, because the 
great fire of 1718 had destroyed all the documents. Approximate figures, 
calculated on the basis of the revisions of 1782 or 1795, therefore had to be 
used to determine the size of the group of established citizens who would be 
granted the privileges of 1654. 52 

In other cases in which the tsar saw the principle of equality jeopardized or 
humane ideals endangered by putative loyalty to tradition, he did not hesitate to 
change outdated practices. On 16 October 1798 he brusquely refused assent to 
a Senate report, giving no further reason for his decision, and prohibited the 
sale of Little Russian peasants, even those without land. 53 In the absence of 
legal ordinances, and given the equalization in the status of Little Russian and 
Great Russian peasants, the regional high court had declared it permissible to 
apply the practices usual among landlords dealing with Great Russian serfs. 
Notwithstanding the strictly formal arguments presented by experts, the 
governor had had misgivings and requested a ruling by the Senate, which 
agreed with the opinion of the high court, but was unable to convince the tsar 
of the correctness of its interpretation. 

Sharp conflicts over church policy repeatedly presented the administration 
with opportunities to attempt pragmatic solutions. 54 Obviously, a domestic poli- 
cy favourable to Polish Catholic noble landowners called for particular 
discretion. Paul’s understanding of and somewhat open sympathy for the 
interests of the Catholic Church, his attitude to the Jesuits 55 and the Papal 
Curia, 56 as well as his role in the Maltese question, repeatedly gave rise to 
broad speculation and misunderstanding, which must have greatly complicated 
the competitive co-existence of hostile church organizations, especially at the 
local level. The Orthodox Church was expected to reorganize itself extensively 
in all parts of the country in order to adjust the borders of bishoprics to new 
administrative boundaries and to bring about a standardization of nomen- 
clature. 57 Despite the open support given to efforts to bring the Uniates into a 
common Russian church organization, Orthodox zealots were kept in check in 
the western regions. Despite the cardinal importance ascribed to religion as a 

Paul I and Ukraine 


defence against the revolutionary Zeitgeist and a bulwark of the monarchic 
idea, it was stringently forbidden to impose a hasty, one-sided choice favouring 
one of the established churches in areas of mixed denomination. This state of 
affairs explains the vacillation of the authorities, who only reacted in extreme 
cases. The central government inclined toward the idea of religious tolerance, 
distancing itself from excesses and forced conversions. 58 It assisted both the 
Roman Catholic and the Uniate churches in reorganizing themselves. 59 From an 
Orthodox — i.e., Ukrainian — viewpoint, such a policy of equal treatment and 
mediation between the hostile ecclesiastical groups undoubtedly warranted a 
negative assessment, and there was no lack of critical and angry commentary 
from contemporaries. 60 

The search for pragmatic solutions also influenced — and handicapped — 
policy on the Jewish question during the era of Paul I. 61 The most recent 
research by John Doyle Klier shows convincingly that in the 1790s the 
contradictory and incoherent policies of Catherine II, which attempted to 
combine greater integration of Jews into existing forms of social and economic 
activity with continued discriminatory restrictions, were superseded by the 
vigorous promotion of legal equality for Jewish citizens, which had been 
promised them earlier. In practice, however, authorities seem to have contented 
themselves with partial solutions whenever influential social groups put up 
resistance. Klier considers the attempt “to gain adequate knowledge of Jewish 
life” 62 a positive feature of Paul’s reign. 


If one attempts to strike a balance and evaluate the particular policies of 
Paul’s reign discussed in this article, both with reference to the emperor’s 
personality and to the government programme for which he was responsible, 
then Kliuchevsky’s impressionistic overall judgment does not always prove to 
be a helpful point of departure. In Kliuchevsky’s view, this tsar’s reign was 
organically linked with the past as a protest and with the future as a first 
unsuccessful attempt at a new policy, a lesson for Paul’s successor. 63 The tsar’s 
policy toward Ukraine shows particularly that as a reformer — which he 
undoubtedly wanted to be, and was, though often with inadequate means and 
insufficient results — he was more closely linked with his predecessor than he 
himself was willing to admit with his demonstrative attitude of protest. He was 
no more successful than Catherine II in dealing with the principal defects of the 
Russian administration: poor information and inadequately qualified bureau- 
crats, corruption and obstruction. To some extent, Paul I had to avail himself of 
the same aides and councillors as Catherine II. Out of profound inner 
conviction and, more particularly, because of the bitter experience of 
revolutionary upheaval in France, Paul shared his mother’s conviction that only 
an autocratic regime could offer a form of government adequate to the vast 
expanses of the Russian Empire. 64 One of his most influential councillors, 


Edgar Hosch 

Count Aleksandr A. Bezborodko (died 6 April 1799), a descendant of the 
Ukrainian Cossack nobility whose political career had begun during the reign 
of Catherine II, expressly confirmed the tsar in this opinion in his famous 
memorandum of 1799, but also strongly urged him to adhere to his self- 
imposed rules and norms. 65 

Law and order was the slogan with which Paul I sought to distance himself 
from his mother and launch a renewal of the monarchic idea in Russia. The ex- 
ample of Ukrainian territory, which has been the focus of attention in this 
article, clearly shows that Paul’s reforming activity found expression in laws 
and decrees primarily during the early years of his reign. 66 They best exemplify 
the implementation of well-prepared and carefully considered ideas of reform, a 
“trend toward rationalization, centralization, and administrative efficiency.” 67 
The “madness” so often referred to; the incoherent rage of a suspicious and 
pathologically moody despot; the “course of arbitrariness and despotism” 68 — 
these images, which have so obscured the Emperor Paul both for contem- 
poraries and for posterity, belong only to the second half of his short reign. 

The heightened attention that Paul I initially devoted to the historically 
conditioned diversity of his multi-ethnic empire led in local administration to 
an abrupt departure from Catherine’s more rigorous policies of unification. 
When it came to the implementation of particular decrees, however, violent 
interventions from the outside were only half-heartedly countered. Because of 
his elitist conception of government, Paul was not interested in a reassessment 
of political regionalism in the border regions, let alone any promotion of 
separatist tendencies. Bureaucratization and centralization, which he consis- 
tently favoured in the supposed interest of the empire, would ultimately render 
meaningless all the concessions he was temporarily inclined to grant the local 
noble associations. The fate of Ukraine during the reign of Paul I provides an 
instructive example of the hopelessness of tsarist nationality policy. The vari- 
ous social groups could not resist the growing pressure for uniformity that 
necessarily proceeded from the central administration of an autocratic regime. 
Only an early renunciation of a one-sided policy that favoured the nobility and 
a far-reaching federalization of the multi-ethnic Russian state could have cre- 
ated the necessary basis for trust and smoothed the way toward lasting 
reconciliation. The gradual reduction of the emperor’s unlimited privileges 
would have been a necessary second prerequisite. Paul showed remarkable 
initiative in regard to the first point, which would ultimately cost him the 
throne, but for various reasons neither he nor his successors would accept the 
second condition. 

Translated by Gisela Forchner 
and Myroslav Yurkevich 

Paul I and Ukraine 



1. Roderick E. McGrew, “A Political Portrait of Paul I from the Austrian and 
English Diplomatic Archives” in Jahrbiicher fur Geschichte Osteuropas N.F. 
(1971):503-29. Quotation on 528. 

2. V. O. Kliuchevsky, Sochineniia (Moscow, 1971), 5:189. 

3. M. V. Klochkov, Ocherki pravitelstvuiushchei deiatelnosti vremeni Pavla I 
(Petrograd, 1916). 

4. John L. H. Keep, “Paul I and the Militarization of Government” in Hugh 
Ragsdale, ed., Paul I: A Reassessment of His Life and Reign (Pittsburgh, 1979), 
91-103. Quotation on 91. 

5. Cf. n. 3 above. Partial reprint from Canadian-American Slavic Studies 7 (1973). 

6. S. M. Kazantsev, “O politicheskom rezhime Rossiiskoi imperii v 1796-1801 gg.,” 
Vestnik Leningradskogo universiteta. No. 5. Ekonomika, fdosofiia, pravo, vyp. 1 

7. R. McGrew, “Some Thoughts on Paul I,” Study Group on Eighteenth-Century 
Russia. Newsletter 8 (1980):35-7. Reference on 37. (Review of Hugh Ragsdale’s 

8. Edgar Hosch, “Zar Paul I (1796-1801) und die russische Mittelmeerpolitik am 
Ausgang des 18. Jahrhunderts,” Saeculum 18 (1967):294-315. Cf. Norman E. 
Saul, “The Objectives of Paul’s Italian Policy” in Paul I: A Reassessment of His 
Life and Reign, 31^13. Reference on 41: “Paul’s Italian policy demonstrates that a 
rational foreign policy that complemented a reactionary ideological outlook was 
pursued,” and Ole Feldbaek, “The Foreign Policy of Tsar Paul I, 1800-1801: An 
Interpretation,” Jahrbiicher fur Geschichte Osteuropas 30 (1982): 16-36 with the 
concluding remark: “In 1800 and 1801 Paul I defined and developed a rational 
and consistent overall foreign policy” (36). 

9. Polnoe sobranie zakonov Rossiiskoi imperii (henceforth PSZ). Sobranie 1-e, v. 

10. P. Zhukovich, “Zapadnaia Rossiia v tsarstvovanie imperatora Pavla,” Zhurnal 
Ministerstva Narodnago Prosveshcheniia, (1916): v. 63, 183-226; v. 64, 207-63; 
v. 65, 186-275. 

11. PSZ no. 18 248. 

12. Zhukovich, v. 63, 201ff. 

13. Ibid., v. 64, 213ff, gives individual examples. 

14. Ibid., 229. 

15. PSZ no. 17 638, cf. no. 17 734, 17 872. 

16. I. e., conversion of grain delivery obligations to cash payments beginning in 1797. 
Grain stored in state granaries was offered for sale to the peasants. 

17. PSZ no. 18 009 (in the province of Tavriia). 

18. PSZ no. 17 802 (in Slobodian Ukraine). 

19. PSZ no. 17 909 (5 April 1797); cf. Klochkov, 559ff. 

20. E.g., the question of extending the cultivation of silkworms to the newly acquired 


Edgar Hosch 

Ukrainian territories (PSZ no. 18 240, with special reference to the Greeks, 
Armenians, and colonists residing there); cf. PSZ no. 18 009, 18 093, 18 325, 19 
290, as well as the various measures intended to promote Black Sea commerce 
(cf., e. g„ PSZ no. 17 919, 17 939, 17 941, 18 373). 

21. PSZ no. 18 670 (Kiev guberniia), no. 18 475 (Western regions), no. 18 707 (New 
Russia); cf. Zhukovich, v. 64, 230. 

22. PSZ no. 18 278 (18 December 1797). 

23. McGrew, Political Portrait, 508. 

24. K. Stahlin, Geschichte Russlands von den Anfdngen bis zur Gegenwart 
(Konigsberg and Berlin, 1935), 3:17. 

25. Claus Scharf, “Staatsauffassung und Regierungsprogramm eines aufgeklarten 
Selbstherrschers: Die Instruktion des Grossfursten Paul von 1788” in E. Schulin, 
ed., Gedenkschrift Martin Gohring. Studien zur europaischen Geschichte 
(Wiesbaden, 1963), 91-106. Reference on 104. Cf. David L. Ransel, “An 
Ambivalent Legacy: The Education of Grand Duke Paul,” in Paul I: A 
Reassessment, which provides interesting new documentation on Paul’s personal 

26. McGrew, 510. 

27. Marc Raeff, “Uniformity, Diversity, and the Imperial Administration of the Reign 
of Catherine II,” Osteuropa in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Festschrift fur Gunther 
Stokl zum 60. Geburtstag (Cologne and Vienna, 1977), 97-113. Quotations on 

28. PSZ no. 17 634; cf. Zhukovich, v. 63, 192 ff. 

29. PSZ no. 17 584 (28 November 1796, Estonia and Livonia); no. 17 594 (30 
November 1796, Little Russia); no. 17 637 (12 December 1796, Vyborg); no. 17 
681 (24 December 1796, Courland; cf. no. 17 785). 

30. PSZ no. 17 594, Par. 3. For the important changes that were nevertheless made to 
the earlier Polish-Lithuanian legal system, see Zhukovich, v. 63, 205-7. 

31. Ibid., Par. 7. Cf. Zhukovich, v. 63, 194ff. 

32. PSZ no. 17 634, Par. 2, 4 and 6. 

33. PSZ no. 18 826 and 19 218. Cf. also the supervision established by the Senate, 
PSZ no. 19 139, 19 211 and 19 212. 

34. Zhukovich, v. 64, 244. 

35. McGrew, A Political Portrait, 528. 

36. PSZ no. 18 166, 18 117. 

37. PSZ no. 17 948. Cf. the proposals to include the scattered Ukrainian and Russian 
settlements in Voronezh guberniia in a single administrative unit (PSZ no. 18 

38. PSZ no. 18 317 (transfer of the administrative centre from Katerynopil to 
Zvenyhorodka in Kiev guberniia), PSZ no. 18 166 and 18 242 (transfer of the 
registry office for real estate transactions — the so-called kontrakty — from Dubno 
to Kiev. 

39. Zhukovich, v. 63, 197. 

Paul I and Ukraine 


40. Cf. PSZ 18 135, 18 563, 18 670, 18 850. Zhukovich, v. 63, 207ff. 

41. V. Kubijovyc, ed., Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopaedia (Toronto, 1963-71), 2:38b. 
Cf. Istoriia Ukrainskoi RSR (Kiev, 1977—9), 2:253-3. 

42. PSZ no. 18 252. 

43. Ibid. Cf. PSZ no. 18 147 (for Minsk, Podillia and Volhynia) and no. 18 828. 

44. PSZ no. 18 135 or 18 850. 

45. Ibid. Cf. Zhukovich, v. 63, 207ff. 

46. PSZ no. 19 230. 

47. PSZ no. 18 278. 

48. Ibid. Cf. Klochkov, 488ff. 

49. Zhukovich, v. 63, 203. Cf. the regulations on noble voting assemblies, PSZ no. 17 
789, 17 790, 19 154. 

50. PSZ no. 18 071. Cf. patents of privilege for Armenians, PSZ no. 19 166, 19 167, 
19 168, 19 169; also the establishment of a city council in Odessa, intended 
primarily for resident aliens (Greeks, Albanians, Moldavians, Bulgarians) and 
modelled on the councils of the Baltic cities of Riga and Reval, PSZ no. 17 967, 
18 346, cf. no. 18 355. 

51. PSZ no. 18 142. 

52. PSZ no. 18 336 and 19 214. Cf. Zhukovich, v. 64, 250ff. 

53. PSZ no. 18 706. 

54. For details, see Zhukovich, v. 65, 225-75. 

55. William A. James, “Paul I and the Jesuits in Russia,” Ph.D. dissertation, 
University of Washington, 1977. 

56. Paul I: A Reassessment , 33ff. and R. E. McGrew, Paul I and the Knights of 
Malta , 44-75. 

57. PSZ no. 19 156 (16 October 1799). 

58. It also protected the Orthodox Church from efforts to win over its faithful on the 
part of Roman Catholics (PSZ no. 18 818) and Uniates (PSZ no. 19 263). 

59. PSZ no. 18 734 and 18 504. 

60. Zhukovich, v. 65, 232ff, shares this opinion. 

61. Zhukovich, v. 64, 25 Iff. 

62. John Doyle Klier, “The Origins of the Jewish Minority Problem in Russia, 
1772-1812,” Ph.D. dissertation. University of Illinois (Urbana), 1975, 166-228. 
Quotation on 167. 

63. Kliuchevsky, ibid. 

64. Scharf, 96ff. 

65. Marc Raeff, Plans for Political Reform in Imperial Russia, 1730-1905. 
Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1966), 69ff. 

66. Cf. McGrew, 51 If. 

67. McGrew, 503, summarizing Klochkov’s views. Cf. Erik Amburger, Inger- 
manland. Eine junge Provinz Russlands im Wirkungsbereich der Residenz und 
Weltstadt St. Petersburg-Leningrad (Cologne and Vienna, 1980), 1:177: “In 


Edgar Hosch 

November 1796, when Paul succeeded his mother as head of state, he undertook 
to rescind or at least thoroughly modify her administrative reforms on a scale not 
previously encountered in such undertakings.” Everything he did was motivated 
by resentment of his mother and hatred of her councillors and favourites. Since 
the tsar took over an administration that was by no means well-ordered, but half- 
completed and full of contradictions, some of his innovations had a thoroughly 
positive character that contributed to valuable reforms...” 

68. Marc Raeff, Michael Speransky, Statesman of Imperial Russia, 1772-1839. 2d 
rev. ed. (The Hague, 1969), 32. 

Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak 

Ukrainian and Russian Women: 
Co-operation and Conflict 

A look at the participation of women in the community and political life of 
their societies can shed as much new light on the societies as on the women. 
This study focuses on some of the distinct characteristics of Ukrainian women, 
looks briefly at the women’s organizations in Ukraine at the turn of this 
century, and discusses the interludes of co-operation between Russian and 
Ukrainian women. In conventional terms, both women and Ukrainians are con- 
sidered “minorities,” although in Ukraine neither of the two groups is a real 
minority. Students of women in the Russian Empire or in the Soviet Union 
largely ignore the nationality implications, while studies of the non-Russian 
nationalities tend not to focus on women’s issues . 1 A focus upon feminism is 
itself not useful, since in Eastern Europe feminism continues to be a rather 
odious term. Although feminism is simply an extension of human rights to the 
female half of the population, nations where few human rights and a low stand- 
ard of living exist are often blind to the specifically sexual aspect of 
discrimination. Articulated feminism is a product of an educated and leisured 
class, usually associated with political liberalism. The feminist perspective in 
Eastern Europe is more diffuse, and it is necessary to look at various women’s 
activities to obtain an adequate picture. 

No Ukrainian and very few Russian women considered the “woman ques- 
tion” central to their interests. The Russians, however, specifically debated 
some aspects of it. The Ukrainians in the Russian Empire discussed it only 
marginally. Some Russian women participated in movements that can be 
labelled feminist. Ukrainian women involved in such movements avoided the 

Leftist political groups welcomed the participation of women, usually under 
the tutelage of the more experienced males. Middle-of-the-road liberals also 
admitted some participation of women in public life, provided, as the Ukrainian 
Mykhailo Drahomanov phrased it in one of his letters to the socialist Ivan 
Franko, that someone took care of the children. Women’s participation in 
Ukrainian organizations was taken for granted by Ukrainian community 
activists, since those involved in social and political causes were of leftist 
orientation. This predisposed them, in theory at least, to accept the principle of 
women’s equality while essentially keeping within the parameters of con- 
ventional sex-role divisions. 


Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak 

Ukrainian women and Russian radical women were frequently drawn into 
public activity by males, who persuaded them of the irrelevance of feminist 
striving to genuine social and political concerns as they defined them. Writing 
about the woman issue in Russia and Ukraine, generally confined to this 
tendency, led activists to overlook the special characteristics of women as a 
whole and to ignore the importance of a “women’s perspective.” The few 
contemporaries who wrote about the early stages of Ukrainian women’s 
movements and the equally few historians who even mentioned women in their 
works implicitly or explicitly stressed the similarities between the experiences 
of Russian and Ukrainian women. 2 

In fact, the differences are more important. When studying the historical de- 
velopment of Ukrainian women and their organizations, one is struck by the 
features that distinguish them from Russian women, not by the similarities. 
Hence the anomaly: the Ukrainian perception and presentation of the develop- 
ment of the women’s movement is at variance with what actually happened, to 
the detriment of the Ukrainians themselves. 

One explanation of this anomaly is that those who wrote about the women’s 
movement in the Russian Empire, as well as the first women activists them- 
selves, were members of the intelligentsia. They suffered from its disregard of 
historicity and historical thinking. By the end of the nineteenth century, the 
Ukrainian intelligentsia often received its philosophical, social, political and 
economic ideas through Russian channels. It considered reactionary tsarism its 
prime enemy and was attracted to ideologies that did not lead it to study its 
own past. Later commentators based their research on published accounts of 
activities in the capital cities, overlooking local developments. The Ukrainian 
intelligentsia in particular, which failed to see its organic connection with the 
Ukrainian countryside, was always surprised by the surge of support ( stykhiia ) 
emanating from that source. Influenced by the Russian intelligentsia, from 
which it took over many of its ideas and rhetorical devices, the Ukrainian 
intelligentsia failed to grasp its own potential strength. The police analysts, on 
the other hand, who kept better records of local events than did the activists 
themselves, feared precisely the link-up of the villages with the democratic 
leaders. They expected that such an alliance would most probably take shape in 
Ukraine. This emerges clearly from a perusal of the Okhrana documents 
dealing with political and community organizations in Ukraine between 1880 
and 1914. 

There was a connection between the study of minorities and interest in 
women. A number of historians attracted to the study of Ukrainian history 
within the Russian Empire (a history of a minority in such a formulation) were 
also drawn to the study of women and social history. 3 The linking of Ukrainian 
historiography to that of the oppressed masses and the Russification of 
Ukrainian upper classes also influenced the manner in which the history of 
Ukrainian women was perceived. 

Ukrainian and Russian Women 


Since the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the legal rights of women in the 
Kievan state, especially among the upper classes, have been commensurate 
with those of men in certain circumstances . 4 Women inherited property, 
managed it, participated in court cases and could initiate divorce proceedings. 
According to the historian Nataliia Polonska-Vasylenko, they married on the 
basis of equality. The old marriage vows were the same for both partners: “I 
take you as my helper.” Upon Ukraine’s incorporation into Russia in the 
seventeenth century, this phrase was replaced by the more familiar “be faithful 
and obey” for the women, a result of the tsarist government’s direct 
interference in Ukrainian social mores and ecclesiastical customs . 5 The rights of 
women to their property, however, theoretically remained intact throughout the 
formation and expansion of the Russian Empire. 

The Tatar invasion did not change Ukrainian social mores: the seclusion of 
upper-class women and their subordination to men, which had occurred in the 
north, in Russia, did not take place on Ukrainian territory. In contrast to the 
subordinate and passive Russian women, Ukrainian women appear to have been 
as free and resolute as any frontier women. The constant struggle with the 
Tatars and Turks provided the raw material for sagas and songs, some of them 
written by women. These carried the spark of female activism and indepen- 
dence even into modem times . 6 Subsequent Polish encroachment on Ukrainian 
and Orthodox privileges strengthened the resolve of the Ukrainians to create 
institutions for their defence. Women participated along with men in building 
churches and financing schools. If necessary, women ran local affairs in the 
absence of their husbands . 7 

Russian presence in Ukraine manifested itself as a series of encroachments 
by a colonizing and centralizing government. The tsarist government re- 
introduced serfdom in Ukraine in its Western variant of panshchyna (a specific 
number of days devoted to working exclusively for a landlord) rather than the 
Russian obrok (payment of a part of the harvested crop to the landlord). Both 
Russian and Ukrainian peasants were also subjected to state taxation. Because 
the serf system was different in Ukraine and Russia, it prevented the develop- 
ment of peasant homogeneity. Ukrainian customs remained more humane than 
those of the Russians. Even after the incorporation of Ukraine into the Empire 
and the granting of noble status to the Ukrainian Cossack officers, direct 
contact with the Russians was limited. This prevented the adoption of the 
vestigial subordination of women that was the norm for the pre-Petrine Russian 
upper classes. Ukrainian upper-class women, like their peasant counterparts in a 
more circumscribed sphere, remained autonomous within marriage. Life 
changed less for the Ukrainian woman on the khutir (the individual homestead 
in the steppe areas of Ukraine) than for her husband, who was drawn into 
civilian or military imperial service . 8 

The differences between Ukrainian and Russian women were recognized by 
women who relied on their own experience and avoided either formal schooling 


Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak 

or informal socialization by the intelligentsia. Larysa Kosach Kvitka, better 
known under the literary pseudonym “Lesia Ukrainka,” was the most famous 
child of Olha Drahomanov Kosach, the Ukrainian woman activist, writer and 
publisher whose pseudonym was Olena Pchilka. The mother educated her 
children outside the Russian school system according to a “great books” 
method that she herself developed. Lesia Ukrainka contrasted the seclusion and 
supervision of Russian women with the dignity and independence of Ukrainian 
women. In a drama written in 1910 ( Boiarynia ), she recreated the shock 
experienced by a Ukrainian woman who moved into upper-class Russian 
society in the seventeenth century. 

More than half a century earlier, Mariia Vilinska Markovych Zhuchenko, 
whose literary reputation as Marko Vovchok was enhanced by her being the 
first prose writer in the Russian Empire to focus upon the fate of female serfs, 
had grasped the brutalizing aspects in the modernization of the Empire. In one 
of her short stories, “Instytutka,” Vovchok contrasted the savage high-handed- 
ness of a “progressively educated” young lady from St. Petersburg with the 
humane casualness that pervaded an old Ukrainian household. 

The differences in the historical experiences of Ukrainian and Russian 
women were also clear to Hanna Chykalenko Keller, the daughter of a rich 
Ukrainian activist. She was brought up in Ukraine and educated in Western 
Europe. In an unpublished memorandum about Ukrainian women that Keller 
prepared for the International Women’s League of Peace and Freedom, which 
met in Geneva in June 1920, she wrote: 

It is probably in the [fifteenth through the seventeenth] centuries that we must 
look for the origins of the relative independence of Ukrainian women in the fol- 
lowing epochs. The upper classes of the Ukrainian population as well as the 
common Cossacks led a warlike existence defending the frontiers against foreign 
invasion. Women were often obliged to follow their husbands in their 
expeditions, even to take part in battle. Fighting at the side of the men for the 
defence of their country, the Ukrainian woman of this time displayed great energy 
and great strength of character. In her husband’s absence, she was accustomed to 
rely on herself, on her own initiative. She took part in political life, in the Diets 
and public assemblies; she was admitted to law courts. The religious movements 
of the time found passionate partisans among Ukrainian women, who studied 
religious doctrines, founded monasteries, schools, hostels, actively collaborated in 
the spread of instruction and benevolence, and took part in ecclesiastical 
communities that played so great a role in the struggle for national independence 
in Ukraine . 9 

Legal measures intended to limit the growth of absolutism failed in both 
Ukraine and Russia. In Ukraine this also resulted in a blurring of national 
identity. Women, less exposed to modernization and less prone to ideological 
thinking, were able to preserve their identities longer than men. For them, the 
line of what was Russian, what was imperial, and what was Ukrainian, was not 

Ukrainian and Russian Women 


so much muted as overlapping. In other words, some women did not see the 
two identities as being mutually exclusive, although they also did not conflate 
the two completely. lust as one lived in the city and in the country, so some of 
the women considered themselves Russian subjects but of Ukrainian coloration. 
For instance, one of the families in which the serf-poet and bard of the 
Ukrainian national renaissance, Taras Shevchenko, found not only friendship 
and support, but love, were the Russian Volkonskys. Their property in the heart 
of Ukraine-— in Poltava-— belonged to the granddaughter of the last Hetman of 
Ukraine. The son of the Decembrist Volkonsky, whose mother, abandoning 
him, had been the first Decembrist wife to follow her husband into exile, was 
raised in Poltava by his paternal uncle. The gentry which visited the household 
knew Ukrainian songs and memorized Shevchenko’s poetry. 10 Nikolai Gogol’s 
mother supplied him with the raw material of Ukrainian legend that he 
transformed into Russian short stories. Many families treasured elaborate 
peasant costumes of the region in which they lived. Gentry families in Ukraine 
were often run by the woman, since the husband, in military or civil service of 
the Empire, spent little time on the estates. With the spread of education and 
travel to the capitals Russian women in Ukraine, who viewed Ukrainian 
national reawakening as a charming manifestation of regionalism, were as 
astonished as the men by the Ukrainian national-liberation struggle, which 
coincided with the revolution. 11 

The mother of the last Hetman of Ukraine was a Ukrainian peasant woman 
who built her own village house as Natalka Rozumykha in 1742, and an 
elaborate church in Kozeltsi in 1745 as Countess Nataliia Rozumovska. 12 Her 
grandson, exemplifying the integration of the family into the imperial structure, 
rose in the Russian bureaucracy. But her great-great-grand-daughter, Sofia 
Perovskaia, was one of the five persons who in 1881 finally succeeded in 
assassinating the Russian tsar. To students of Russian history, Perovskaia was 
the epitome of the selfless, dedicated Russian woman. Her Ukrainian contem- 
poraries, exemplifying an historical memory not yet eroded by later ideologies, 
however, remembered her ties to the old Rozumykha. 

The woman issue emerged in the Empire in the 1860s. As in the United 
States, where it had been connected with slavery, the woman question in the 
Russian Empire was tied to serfdom. In the Ukrainian provinces it became part 
of the broad spectrum of national issues. The commonality of experience of 
Russian and Ukrainian women described by some modem writers was the 
commonality of the progressive intelligentsia. The stmggle against autocratic 
tsarism for human and political rights was its common bond, but the definition 
of these terms provided the material for discord. It seems that the first woman 
of the intelligentsia to publish a political appeal was a Ukrainian, Khrystyna D. 
Alchevska, noted for her pioneering work in literacy schools for adults. In 
Herzen’s London-based Kolokol of 8 March 1863, she entreated the women of 
Russia to come to the aid of the Poles, who had raised their last armed revolt 


Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak 

against the tsarist government. She signed the appeal, couched in terms of 
imperial loyalty and universal enlightenment, “Ukrainka,” 13 illustrating that at 
the time the idea of a Ukrainian identity did not exclude adherence to a 
heterogeneous Empire as far as the non-Russians were concerned. 

There is no way to distinguish Russian and Ukrainian female participants in 
the two great revolutionary currents of the nineteenth century, populism and 
Marxism. Psychologically, socially and intellectually the motivation and type of 
activity pursued by the women were the same. There were women in all camps. 
Neither Russian nor Ukrainian women produced notable theoreticians or 
ideologists. Both produced workers for the revolution, its martyrs and its saints. 
Neither among the Russian nor the Ukrainian women were there any double 
agents: we do not know whether this should be attributed to female virtue or to 
an oversight on the part of the Okhrana. More Russian women revolutionaries 
played significant symbolic revolutionary roles than did their Ukrainian coun- 
terparts. Although women participated even in the leadership of all specifically 
Ukrainian parties and organizations, in none did they achieve power. An 
argument could be made that the Ukrainian national movement was essentially 
liberal, not radical, and that liberals were wary of female emancipation — this 
despite the fact that the Ukrainians considered themselves radicals. 

The revolution of 1905 was actually a prolonged series of crises and 
expectations, interspersed with promises, pogroms, the formation of legal 
parties and the convocation of a representative assembly. Systematization of the 
parties, their subordination to party discipline, and the development of party 
structures and programmes resulted in a decline in political participation by 
Russian and Ukrainian women alike. 

In 1900, Ukrainian students had organized the Revolutionary Ukrainian 
Party (RUP), in which Marxist-oriented youth was active. Early in 1905, 
Ukrainian Marxists from the RUP formed a separate Ukrainian Social Demo- 
cratic Labour Party. In an attempt to undermine the Ukrainians and diminish 
their significance in the all-Russian Marxist movement, a group of Marxists in 
Ukraine, at Lenin’s behest, founded the Ukrainian branch of the Russian Social 
Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP). They called it Spilka — Union — and it was 
meant to be autonomous but subordinate to the Russian centre. Unlike other 
Marxist groups in the Russian Empire, this one began to enjoy grass-roots sup- 
port, and its propaganda was effective in the countryside. Despite its national 
heterogeneity, the Spilka was acquiring a pro-Ukrainian orientation. Both the 
Okhrana and the RSDLP feared this development. The RSDLP tried to dilute it 
by decreeing that the Spilka should work with all peasants in the Empire. When 
this manoeuvre failed to contain Ukrainian influence, the RSDLP dissolved the 

Many women had been attracted to the Spilka. Liudmyla Drahomanova was 
considered a candidate for one of its posts, as were Lesia Ukrainka and her 
sister, Olha (Kryvyniuk). The participation of Jewish women was significant: 

Ukrainian and Russian Women 


Maria Notelevna Michels joined it when she was barely nineteen. Gaia-Leia 
Moiseevna Kimos, a midwife, offered the use of her address for mail, while 
Gilda Vulfovna Vulfson served as a liaison between Kiev and Chemihiv. 14 

The Marxists were the only political party to take an official stand on 
women’s liberation and to organize activities and demonstrations centering on 
women. (The Constitutional Democrats voiced some support for woman 
suffrage.) In this fashion they mobilized women as a group and contributed to 
the raising of women’s consciousness. But there was no specific attempt to as- 
sociate women’s liberation with nationalism. Women most active in the 
Marxist movement in Ukraine, such as Evgeniia Bosh and Rozaliia Zalkind, 
known as Zemliachka, showed no interest whatever in the nationality question. 

The differences between Russian and Ukrainian women emerge more 
sharply in cultural activity and in work among the peasants. Russian women’s 
work among the peasants concentrated on revolutionary consciousness-raising 
or some form of education, while Ukrainian women stressed the gathering of 
ethnographic material. This type of work was easy for women, who were closer 
to the village than men. Moreover, ethnographic materials were frequently the 
creations of village women. Compared to Ukrainian women, few Russian 
women engaged in gathering peasant artifacts and folklore. The compilation of 
songs, stories, artifacts and handicrafts of the peasants, pioneered by Olena 
Pchilka, brought Ukrainian women closer to the peasants and prevented the 
alienation which so painfully plagued the Russian intelligentsia. 15 Symbolically, 
Pchilka’ s book on folk ornaments in Ukraine was published in 1876, the year in 
which Ukrainian publishing was banned by the notorious Ems Ukase. It was as 
if the mute symbols of the peasant women were articulating the existence of a 
people who were banned from speaking out. 

While the young Ukrainian woman might go to the villages and come back 
with material that could be considered of immediate relevance to the national 
cause, her Russian conterpart would more likely come to grips with sexual 
discrimination. The Ukrainian woman, on the other hand, generally encountered 
national discrimination first. 

For Ukrainians, even the most conventional forms of public activity — litera- 
ture, collection of ethnographic material, and theatre — were more hazardous 
politically than were similar activities for Russian women. For example, when 
Russian women went into the theatre, they took up a profession connected with 
an urban existence. Ukrainian theatre troupes, short of funds and hounded by 
the police from town to town and village to village, became vehicles for the ex- 
pression of national sentiment. Mariia Zankovetska, the most popular Ukrainian 
actress, who turned down a lucrative position in St. Petersburg, was character- 
ized by a younger contemporary as “the incarnation of Ukraine.” 16 The 
celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of her career in Kiev on 15 January 
1908 became a demonstration of Ukrainian national solidarity. 17 


Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak 

There was a double standard in the treatment of Ukrainians and Russians. 
Publishing in Ukrainian presented the same insurmountable difficulties for 
Ukrainian men as for Ukrainian women; it was much easier for Russians, and 
in Russia. Ukrainians were given harsher punishments than Russians for similar 
political activities. Ukrainian women fared badly in the police annals. They 
were frequently portrayed as more violent revolutionaries than their husbands. 
Indeed, if one were to base oneself solely upon police activities, even taking 
into consideration the predictable overstatement inherent in any report written 
for superiors, it would seem that the families of all conscious Ukrainians were 
rabid revolutionaries. “Ukrainophilism” was tantamount to revolution, and an 
oblique hint at it was enough to destroy chances for advancement in Ukrainian, 
though not necessarily Russian, cities. 

It was much more difficult for Ukrainian women, or for women whom the 
Okhrana suspected of being involved in the Ukrainian cultural renaissance, to 
organize than it was for Russian women. Women in Kiev, for instance, were 
not able to gain permission to hold women’s university-level courses until 
1879, ten years after similar courses had been organized in Moscow. The 
Okhrana had seen them as part of the cultural “Ukrainophile” movement. 

Since women were barred from a university education, the higher women’s 
courses, taught by a university faculty outside the state-run universities, were 
an avenue used by moderates to circumvent government opposition to women’s 
education. At the same time, the liberals hoped that higher education would 
prevent women from engaging in clandestine political activity. In Kiev, the 
initiative for the women’s courses came from middle-aged liberal women 
whose secure positions in society were determined by class and marriage. The 
wife of Professor S. S. Gogotsky, an esteemed faculty member at St. Vladimir 
University, was the moving force behind the effort. She was accused of 
Ukrainophile and revolutionary tendencies. The fact that the Lysenko Choir, 
singing Shevchenko’s poetry set to music, performed at fund-raising concerts, 
and that Ukrainian activists in the Hromada, an old boys’ club of Ukrainian 
liberals (who barred women from membership), also supported the courses, 
made the Okhrana wary of the whole undertaking. When the courses were fi- 
nally opened in 1879, women flocked to them. Three years later the govern- 
ment suspended them in the wake of the tsar’s assassination. The suspension, 
lasting some five years, led to the formation — without official sanction — of the 
first Ukrainian women’s organization in the Russian Empire, the Study Circle 
led by Olena Dobrohaeva. When the courses were reestablished, the Okhrana 
went out of its way to make participation difficult. 18 

Ukrainian women activists either lived similar lives or were forced into 
them. Throughout Ukraine, complained a woman who married into a Ukrainian 
family, “all these provincial families, scattered throughout the various home- 
steads, were related either by blood or by marriage. They formed a closed 
world to which an outsider could not readily adjust.” 19 Activist Ukrainian 

Ukrainian and Russian Women 


families banded together in the cities and were subjected to the same type of 
discrimination. 20 Women rendered mutual assistance, encouraged one another 
and sheltered those in need. They did the work necessary for the cause, includ- 
ing smuggling of publications and even some arms, but did not give up legal 
work. This manifested itself in such uncharacteristic gestures as the embroider- 
ing of a decorative cloth that would be used to greet Alexander II when he 
passed through Poltava. 21 For the most part, however, Ukrainian women were 
forced into a revolutionary role by the government’s adamant identification of 
Ukrainianism with anti-government activity. 

Sofiia Lindfors Rusova, an educator and author of popular textbooks who 
had a winning way with young people, was particularly distrusted by the 
Okhrana, which characterized her as “hopeless, incapable of reforming herself, 
and definitely a terrorist who encourages in youth the most extreme views.” 22 
Since, together with her husband, she published an uncensored version of 
Shevchenko’s Kobzar in Prague in 1876, the Okhrana mistrusted everything 
she did. Rusova, however, was as far removed from terrorism as she could be: 
her interest was the education of youth. She particularly enjoyed trying out her 
primers on village children. 

Lack of contact among Russian and Ukrainian women, as well as rumours 
about the revolutionary proclivities of Ukrainian women, fed the popular image 
of the valiant Ukrainian revolutionary woman: one who smuggled guns in her 
elaborately coiffed hairdo and hid illegal leaflets in diapers. The fears of the 
male Okhrana on the one hand, and the hopes of the Ukrainian male 
intelligentsia on the other, helped to fix that image. 

It was also more difficult for women in Kiev to organize a Women’s Club 
not associated with the conservative Philanthropic Society than it was for wo- 
men in other cities to organize similar societies. In May 1895, Kievan women 
petitioned the government “to permit the ladies ( damy ) to meet on a regularly 
scheduled basis, to spend free time in comfort, pleasure and usefulness, taking 
care of women’s material and spiritual needs.” The government saw no 
objections, but the police refused to grant permission simply because Liudmyla 
A. Taranovska, whose name headed the petition signed by fourteen women, 
was associated with the so-called Ukrainophile group. The women did not get a 
formal answer for five years, at which time student unrest made legalization of 
the new Kiev organization unlikely. It was only in 1910, when the initiative to 
establish the club was renewed by the Countess Adelaide K. Plater, that 
permission was finally granted. By that time Ukrainian and progressive Russian 
women had developed other forms of activity, and the Kievan Women’s Club 
provided little but fellowship for its members. 23 

What led the Russian women to feminist awareness or outright political 
activity led their Ukrainian counterparts to the realization of their subordinate 
status as Ukrainians. Few Ukrainian women in the Russian Empire produced 
feminist writings. On the contrary, among the most actively engaged women 


Martha Bohachevsky- Chomiak 

we find the predictable negation of feminist concerns, in good social- 
democratic tradition. Lesia Ukrainka, for instance, argued that the woman issue 
was a non-issue. At the same time she canned jam, cooked for her younger 
siblings, and embroidered blouses — tasks never expected of her brother. For 
women who thought as she did, the goal was universal liberation. Self-sacrifice, 
not self-assertion, was the order of the day. 

But Ukrainian women were aware of feminist concerns. The major 
similarities between Russian and Ukrainian female activists at the turn of the 
century were that both desired some political rights and both were involved in 
helping the poor. Ukrainian women, even in organized women’s groups, tended 
to be more democratic than Russian women. There were not enough Ukrainian 
women to form philanthropic societies for the support of Ukrainian causes. 
Russian philanthropic societies were composed of extremely conservative 
women to whom Ukrainian causes were anathema. Only individual Ukrainian 
women of some means could fund Ukrainian needs. One such person was 
Ielysaveta Skoropadska Myloradovych, the benefactress of the Shevchenko 
Scientific Society in Lviv. Because such societies were banned in Eastern 
Ukraine, she could not fund one in Poltava, where she lived. Nor were the 
Ukrainian women as involved as the Russians in eradicating prostitution. The 
primary work of the Ukrainian women was directed at relief efforts, literature 
and literacy. 

Feminist organizations became popular in the Russian Empire between 1901 
and 1908. During this time, membership in women’s organizations peaked, and 
feminist concerns offered an opportunity for confrontation and co-operation 
among the nationalities making up the empire. Russian feminists — though not 
those who study them — became aware of the nationality question. 

Russian and Ukrainian women co-operated in the Kiev branch of the Society 
for the Protection of Women. Unlike the Russian chapters, whose membership 
was made up of titled upper-class women, the Kiev branch was composed of 
women of the intelligentsia. The Kiev branch tried to develop positive ways of 
helping the poor. Women students who belonged to it worked side by side with 
older women. Women of different nationalities — Ukrainian, Russian, Jewish 
and Polish — co-operated with each other. 24 

For years the Kiev branch was run by Dr. V. G. Kliachkina, a Russian 
whose daughter became a Ukrainian patriot as a result of living and working 
among Ukrainians. Its leadership included women of different nationalities and 
classes, among them Rozaliia Isakovna Margolina, Sofiia Aleksandrovna Sats, 
Mariia Aleksandrovna Kostetska, Zinaida Vasylivna Mima and Anna Kharito- 
novna Golqba. It maintained a cheap dormitory, a subsidized cafeteria, an 
employment office, a literacy school for adults and a free legal clinic. It ran a 
sewing school whose profits were used to offset the expenses of its other 
ventures. It held various cultural activities for adults. It tried to attract Russian, 
Jewish and Ukrainian working women, but was successful only with the latter. 

Ukrainian and Russian Women 


Most Jewish women, despite special efforts made to reach out to them, avoided 
organizations with an implicitly Ukrainian coloration and preferred, if any, 
women’s societies with a Russian orientation. 25 

An important aspect of the Revolution of 1905 was the spontaneous growth 
of local organizations. In the Ukrainian areas the most significant of these were 
the Prosvita (Enlightenment) societies. These community organizations for the 
promotion of literacy and dissemination of knowledge were patterned upon 
those founded three generations earlier among Western Slavs, including the 
Galician Ukrainians. Ukrainian women were very active in Prosvita in Eastern 
Ukraine and in the dynamic co-operative movement that survived well into the 
1920s. 26 

Another aspect of the Revolution of 1905 was the growth of specifically 
feminist societies that sought to exert political influence. The attempt to create 
a Women’s Progressive Party failed, but the All-Russian Union for the Equality 
of Women, established in Moscow in 1905, struck a responsive chord among 
women in the urban centres of the Empire. 27 

Most of the Union’s members were women of liberal convictions. Branches 
sprang up in Kiev, Odessa, Poltava and Kharkiv. The membership increased 
steadily between 1905 and 1908, when the women were agitating for the vote. 28 

Non-Russian women joined the Union, using it to raise the nationality issue. 
Russian feminists, unused to open public debate, were more responsive to 
issues raised by non-Russian women than were their male counterparts, who 
were inured to political discussions. 

At the first Congress of Women, held from 6 to 9 May 1905 in Moscow, the 
element of surprise came from the Ukrainian, Jewish, Polish and Belorussian 
women. They insisted, in return for joining the Union, on its acknowledgement 
of the principle of national and organizational autonomy and the right of all 
nationalities in the Russian Empire to cultural self-determination. According to 
the minutes, which were later published and whose rough draft reflected the 
intensity of the debate: 

these statements brought forth a very heated exchange of views. The supporters of 
a general program argued... that [the inclusion of the nationality issue] would 
weaken the unity of the masses and necessitate the inclusion of a debate on the 
agrarian and the workers’ issue [which the women tried to avoid.] 

But the debate proved, in the words of the minutes, beyond doubt that “for the 
oppressed nationalities the issue of national freedom was the most pressing 
one.” After accepting the principle that the Union and its program were 
political and not philanthropic organizations, the congress, with only four 
abstentions, “acknowledged the right of the different nationalities which are 
part of Russia to political autonomy and national self-determination.” 29 

The influx of new members meant that at each major gathering the 
nationality issue had to be discussed anew. At the Third Congress of the Union, 


Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak 

held from 8 to 12 October 1905, “there were political resolutions from 
Lithuanian, Polish and Ukrainian women demanding a federative structure for 
Russia,” which resulted in the ratification of 

a statement to the effect that the liberation of women is inseparably tied to the 
achievement of autonomy for their native land ( rodnoi krai) and its liberation 
from the yoke of Russification. 30 

Some Russian women, smarting under the snubs they received from their male 
liberal colleagues who would not commit themselves to woman suffrage, used 
their responsiveness to the nationality issue as proof of their political 
sophistication. “This question had barely emerged in Russian society, and our 
association was one of the first to solve it in a positive fashion,” boasted 
Chekhova. 31 

Ukrainian women particitated in all aspects of the work and in all women’s 
congresses, but had no illusions either about the strength of liberalism in the 
Russian Empire or about the impact the feminist organization could make. 
Among the Ukrainian women, Olena Pchilka, Liubov Ianovska and Anna 
Dmitriieva were the most active. It was Pchilka, one of the editors of the first 
Ukrainian women’s almanac in 1887, who mustered public support for 
Ukrainian women at the congress. 32 

It was also Pchilka who forced the Poltava branch of the Union to come out 
openly with a pro-Ukrainian statement. That brought about a split in the branch, 
for the Russian women would not agree to the following addition to the pro- 

Ukrainian women, in addition to the bitter and painful aspects of the women’s 
issue in general, are also in large measure influenced by the difficult circumstan- 
ces which stem from the oppression of the Ukrainian nation. The woman of 
Ukraine, who belongs to a nation of many millions that is deprived of political 
rights and has been forced to subject itself to a centralized government for 
generations, could not help but experience all the consequences of the nation’s 
spiritual subjection. Since the Treaty of Pereiaslav, when Ukraine lost its political 
independence [1654], language, the sole means of expressing [one’s] thoughts, 
could be developed only by individuals. Their works could not be published in 
their native land. Elementary schools, which used to be of high quality in 
Ukraine, were slowly reduced to such a level that they lost all their national and 
community characteristics ( natsionalno-hromadski prykmety). The denational- 
ization of Ukrainian women who have gone through the Russian school was the 
inevitable consequence of the political system, which had as its aim the separation 
of the cultured part of society from the whole of the nation. Such a situation 
greatly harmed the national communal cause — the upbringing of the younger 
generations. The Ukrainian women consider it their prime duty to take a stand on 
this matter ( obstaty za tse dilo). 

Ukrainian women add their own demands to the platform — that an autono- 
mous federative structure be introduced into government, based upon the ethnic 
territorial principle, and that decentralization in the administrative structure of the 

Ukrainian and Russian Women 


government also be implemented; that elections be held on the basis of universal 
suffrage, with no distinction of sex or nationality; that the vote be direct, equal 
and secret. Moreover, all persons residing in Ukraine, without regard to sex or 
nationality, must enjoy the same equal rights that guarantee all the usual 
freedoms ? 3 

Pchilka and Ianovska prepared papers for one of the congresses held in 
1908. Pchilka’ s was on “the tasks of Ukrainian women.” 34 Neither historians 
nor memoirists noted this work of the Ukrainian feminists. This early demand 
for Ukrainian political autonomy has been overlooked for so long that it is 
impossible to identify all the women who were involved. 35 

Pchilka wanted to create a central Ukrainian women’s organization in the 
Russian Empire. She was opposed by Ukrainian activists, male and female, 
who maintained that this would be an unnecessary dissipation of Ukrainian 
strength. In the journal she published, Pchilka continued to report on women’s 
affairs, specifically on difficulties experienced by women lawyers, the struggle 
against prostitution, progress of women’s higher education, and the like. But 
she was more perturbed by the growth of reaction than by feminist concerns. 
None of the Russian liberals came to the aid of the Kiev Prosvita when the 
government harassed the society in which so many women participated 36 

As the women gained in educational and occupational opportunities, and as 
the likelihood of effective liberalization of Russia under tsarism decreased, the 
feminist movement lost most of its supporters. The years immediately pre- 
ceding the outbreak of the First World War were marked in Ukraine by the 
growth of national consciousness among Ukrainians and by an increased 
opposition to it among Russians. Women in Kiev and Kharkiv tried to continue 
co-operation among the nationalities. They were able to stave off a formal 
break until 1917. 

During the First World War, women working in the Tatiana Committees, in 
the zemgor and in the hospitals did so in order to help the needy, not out of 
feminist considerations. Many Galician Ukrainians were among the refugees, 
political prisoners and prisoners of war. It was under the aegis of the “Society 
to Aid the Population of South Russia that Suffered from the War,” composed 
of both men and women, that Liudmyla Starytska- Chemiakhivska was able to 
visit the Galician Ukrainians exiled and imprisoned in Eastern Ukraine and 
somewhat alleviate the conditions under which they were being kept. 37 

The war strengthened the patriotism of the Russian feminists. Co-operation 
between moderate women of both nationalities was as doomed as that between 
men. The formal break with the Russian women in Kiev came after a massive 
Ukrainian demonstration held on 19 March/ 1 April 1917. Russian women of 
Kiev, especially Russified Jewish women, objected so strenuously to Ukrainian 
participation in the women’s organization that centralized all Kievan women’s 
organizations during the war that the Ukrainian women had to resign. 38 This 
marked the day of national revolution for the Ukrainian feminists — if they had 


Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak 

thought of themselves in those terms. 

No Ukrainian woman played a determining role in the establishment of 
Soviet power in Ukraine. No woman identifying herself primarily with the 
Ukrainian cause was prominent in the leadership of the Bolshevik party, even 
in its initial Ukrainian variants. Evgeniia Bosh, a Jewish woman from Odessa 
who was among the leaders of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic and is duly recog- 
nized as such, was primarily interested in a unified party, in the international 
proletariat, and in preserving the unity of the former lands of the Russian 
Empire. That was also the case with the women who helped establish Soviet 
influence in Ukraine through the zhinviddily (women’s chapters organized by 
the Communist Party). 

Information on the Ukrainian zhinviddily is sketchy, incomplete and 
contradictory. Western scholars consider that they were run by Aleksandra 
Kollontai, and after 1926 by Olga Pilatskaia. Both women represented the 
centralizing tendencies of the Bolshevik party; neither had any contacts with 
the specifically Ukrainian wing or with Ukrainian communists, who in turn did 
not consider the women’s issue to be their primary interest. In reality, Kollontai 
had little direct control over the Ukrainian zhinviddily between 1924 and 1926. 
At this time, when the party was oriented toward Ukrainization and the 
influence of the so-called “national communists” had reached its height, 
women’s work was co-ordinated by the head of the zhinviddily at the Central 
Committee of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine by Marusia O. 
Levkovych, a school teacher from Kharkiv who joined the party in 1919 and 
who seems to have vanished in the maelstrom of the 1930s. 

Soviet female activists in Ukraine complained that there was a tremendous 
amount of opposition to the work of the zhinviddily, especially in the villages. 
The major problem was that the zhinviddily reflected the aspirations of the 
Muscovite centre, not that of the specific locality. Russian-speaking women 
were used to disseminate propaganda in Ukrainian villages, and the Ukrainians 
banded together against the Russians. Another problem was that the women 
spouted Bolshevik rhetoric, helped in grain requisitions and proposed the 
expropriation of even small private farms to which the Ukrainians were 
attached. Ukrainian Marxist women, in turn, specifically denied any possibility 
of international co-operation among women on any grounds other than Marxist. 
In their overviews of “women’s movements in the capitalist states” they did not 
mention Ukrainian women outside the Soviet Union, nor even their interest in 
Soviet Ukraine. 

By 1926, when Olga Pilatskaia (1884-1937) took over the Ukrainian 
zhinviddily, Ukraine claimed to have organized one and one-half million 
women in party organizations. About seventy thousand activists had gone 
through various stages of party training. Pilatskaia, a dedicated communist of 
Russian nationality, trudged on foot from village to village trying to overcome 
the hostility with which she was met. But she stressed that she was working for 

Ukrainian and Russian Women 


the economic progress of the USSR and of Russia, and the fact that she worked 
for Ukraine had no direct relevance to her. 39 That contributed to her lack of 

Communists created obstacles for Ukrainian women activists whose previ- 
ous work in women’s organizations and in Prosvita now led officialdom to con- 
sider them bourgeois nationalists. Women activists, such as Liudmyla 
Starytska-Chemiakhivska, became defendants in trials and were given harsh 
sentences. Olena Pchilka, who spoke out against the anti-Ukrainian policies of 
the new government, was saved from repression only by her association with 
Lesia Ukrainka, by then deceased, yet sanctified by her death. 

The only genuine co-operation among Ukrainian and Russian women on an 
organized, not individual, scale had been within the liberal feminist movement 
between 1905 and 1910. Russian women, disenfranchised and painfully ex- 
periencing their own inequality, agreed to other women’s demands for national 
equality. Free of political and ideological ballast, the Russian feminists had rec- 
ognized the logic of the minorities’ demands. Russian and Ukrainian liberal 
men, however, were impervious to the justice of women’s demands. In time, 
the women succumbed to socialization by the men. The Russians, with their 
stress upon the unity of the empire and the primacy of the struggle against 
autocracy, disregarded their own feminists, who in turn dropped the stress on 
autonomy in an attempt to imitate the men. Ukrainian men simply ignored 
Ukrainian women, treating feminism as untimely in much the same manner as 
Russian liberals treated the striving for national autonomy. Ukrainian women, 
socialized into service for a cause, did not consider it proper to stress any of 
their independent achievements. 

The focus upon women’s organizations points out the importance of local 
history in recreating the fuller story of the past. In that story the role of Russian 
and Ukrainian women has often been overlooked, which is understandable. 
What is less understandable is the way in which many Ukrainians have both 
failed to note Ukrainian women’s activities or to discern the differences be- 
tween Russian and Ukrainian women. Additional study of Russian and 
Ukrainian women in their social contexts may illustrate more points of contact 
between women of the dominant nationality and other women. Although the 
Ukrainian women did not see eye to eye with the Russians, there were some 
opportunities for joint work. The study of women’s organizations and women’s 
participation in community activities thus opens yet another perspective on 
Russians and Ukrainians that draws us away from ideologically defined groups. 


Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak 


1 . Considerations of space prevent a discussion of aspects of the woman question or 
of feminism. For the purposes of this article I have dealt with women activists in 
general, without differentiation of the various types of involvement in national, 
community or revolutionary activities. Although education was an important 
factor in women’s issues, and although Ukrainian women were involved in all its 
aspects (there even seems to have been stronger pressure in the Ukrainian 
provinces for the education of peasant women than in the Russian ones), 
considerations of space prevent me from even touching upon the subject. 

I have placed greater stress on Ukrainian than on Russian women, since 
materials on the latter are much more readily available than on the former. (A 
convenient introduction to Russian women is Richard Stites, The Women’s 
Liberation Movement in Russia [Princeton, 1978], although the information in it 
on the Union for the Equality of Women is incomplete and therefore slanted.) 

I would like to thank some of the persons and institutions facilitating my 
research: the American Association of University Women, which enabled me to 
take a year for the completion of the research; IREX, which made research in the 
archives and university libraries of Kiev, Lviv and Moscow possible; a Fulbright 
Faculty scholarship, which made possible invaluable research in Poland; the 
Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, which provided a forum for testing ideas on 
the subject; and the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America and the 
World Federation of Ukrainian Women for initiating and supporting the project. 
My special thanks go to Yaryna Turko Bodrock of Widener Library, Liubov 
Abramiuk Volynec and Svitliana Lutska Andrushkiv of the New York Public 
Library, and to Basil Nadraga of the Library of Congress for help in locating 
elusive publications. 

2. For instance, Pavlo Hrabovsky, a progressive Ukrainian activist and writer, wrote 
in the Galician Ukrainian newspaper Narod in 1884, the year in which the 
Galician Ukrainian women convened their first public rally: “The Ukrainian 
woman walked alongside the Muscovite woman, for history had tied them 
together so that we do not see any difference between one and the other.” Writing 
as Pavlo Hrab, “Deshcho v spravi zhinochykh typiv,” Narod (Lviv), 1 and 15 
April 1884, quotation from p. 108. 

Zinaida Mirna, an undisputed Ukrainian patriot and women’s activist, as well 
as a member of the Central Rada, the government that unsuccessfully fought the 
Bolsheviks, expressed similar views as late as 1937. She wrote from Prague, 
where she had emigrated: “The women’s movement in Ukraine cannot be separat- 
ed from the whole Russian women’s movement, since for more than two hundred 
years Ukraine, conquered under Muscovite rule, had to live a common life with 
Russia, and all events of a political, economic and cultural character [in the 
Russian Empire] were reflected in the life of Ukraine.” “Zhinochyi rukh na 
Velykii Ukraini do Revoliutsii,” Zhinka (Lviv), no. 4, 1937. 

3. Oleksandra la. Efimenko, the first woman in the Empire to receive a doctorate in 
history (in Kharkiv in 1910), was drawn by personal and professional 
considerations not only to Ukrainian and social history, but also to the Ukrainian 

Ukrainian and Russian Women 


cause. Mykola Kostomarov, after his political and scholarly activity on behalf of 
Ukrainians, gravitated toward the study of the social history of Russian women. 
Danylo Mordovtsev, whose best-selling books popularized the Cossack period, 
also wrote a book on women. 

There are very few works dealing with Ukrainian women. Nataliia Polonska- 
Vasylenko, in a long-awaited slim volume on outstanding Ukrainian women, 
complained that many of them had been “completely forgotten by their 
descendants.” Vydatni zhinky Ukrainy (Winnipeg, 1969), 101. The book was part 
of an unfinished project initiated by Milena Rudnytska to prepare a collective 
work on the history of Ukrainian women. The project never got off the ground, 
owing partly to lack of funds and partly to lack of access to primary sources. 
Correspondence to that effect in the papers of Milena Rudnytska in the Archives 
of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U.S. ( UVAN ). Also see 
Natalka Levenets Kohuska, Chvert stolittia na hromadskii nyvi, 1926-1951: 
Istoriia Soiuzu Ukrainok Kanady (Winnipeg, 1952), supported by interview with 
Anna Kobrynska in New York on 21 March 1981. Oleksander Luhovy 
(Oleksander Vasyl Ovrutsky-Shvabe), Vyznachne zhinotstvo Ukrainy (Toronto, 
1942), is a mixture of fact, fiction and conjecture. 

4. One of the first articles on the history of Ukrainian women was published, 
appropriately, in the first women’s periodical, Meta (Goal), in Lviv on 1 June 
1908. Its author, Ivan Krypiakevych, later became a leading scholar of Ukrainian 
history. In the article he pointed to an early matriarchal system on the territory of 
Ukraine, but argued that the role of woman in primitive Slavdom was one of com- 
plete subjection to the male. Ivan Krypiakevych, “Zhinka v istorii Ukrainy,” 
Meta, no. 7, 1 June 1908, 4-5. 

5. Polonska-Vasylenko, 78-9. 

6. For instance, Marusia Churai, the half-legendary author of a series of popular 
songs in the seventeenth century, continues to inspire contemporary Ukrainians. 
Lina Kostenko’s Marusia Churai: Istorychnyi roman u virshakh (Kiev, 1979) was 
a best-seller. Churai ’s songs continue to be sung. 

7. Ihor Losky, “Ukrainska zhinka v kozatsku dobu,” Zhinka, no. 15-16 (August 
1935), stressed the active role of all Ukrainian women. The role of upper-class 
women in the establishment of the Kiev Mohyla Academy emerges in Z. I. 
Khyzhniak, Kyievo-Mohylianska Akademiia (Kiev, 1970). Poles also stressed that 
the precariousness of life in the steppes drew Ukrainian women into the fray and 
enabled them to choose and divorce husbands at will. The less sensational parts of 
Dr. Antoni [Rolle], Niewiasty kresowe (Warsaw, 1883), were reprinted that year 
in vol. VI of Kievskaia starina, 268-309. 

8. G. S. Vinsky, a hot-headed soldier from Ukraine’s lower elite, served in the 
Russian army under Catherine II. He was exiled to Siberia as a result of a 
financial scandal at the time of the destruction of the Sich, the Cossack strong- 
hold. In his memoirs, Moe vremia: Zapiski (new edition in Oriental Research 
Partners Memoir Series, vol. 11), which probably idealizes his childhood, he 
stressed the differences between Russian and Ukrainian women. He also wrote 
that “at this time, the Little-Russians lived only among themselves; except for 
Greeks and Poles, foreigners were unknown to them; even with the Great 


Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak 

Russians they hardly had any contact,” 23. 

9. This is from numbered page “la” of a mimeographed and edited typescript, with 
errors corrected, in the Hanna Chykalenko Keller papers in the Archives of 
UVAN, uncatalogued. An unpublished autobiography of Keller is also in the file, 
as well as some correspondence with her father. 

10. Pavlo Zaitsev, Zhyttia Tarasa Shevchenka (Paris, 1955), 98-9; also quoted in 
Polonska-Vasylenko, 105. 

11. See especially Dmytro Doroshenko, Moi spomyny pro nedavnie-mynule 
(1914-1920) (Munich, 1969), 484, as well as the memoirs of Mariia Livytska, Na 
hrani dvokh epokh (New York, 1972). Even in the correspondence of the totally 
russified N. A. Belozerskaia, the attraction of Poltava is evident. A younger 
relative wrote to her in Ukrainian at the beginning of the century, Tsentralnyi 
Gosudarstvennyi Arkhiv Literatury i Iskusstva, f. 58, op. 1, ed. khr. 21, p. 2; also 
see letter from I. A. Gen, ibid., ed. khr. 26, p. 4. The Russian emigre memoir 
literature is too large to quote here. 

A few examples must suffice to illustrate the complex family relation- ships 
resulting from political and national disagreements. Oleksandra Oleksiivna 
Vynohradova broke her engagement to Symon Petliura for ideological reasons. 
An ardent populist, she could not abide his Marxist orientation. Eventually she 
married a Prosvita activist, Kopeliovych, who was of Jewish origin. Her sisters, 
Olena, a sculptor, and Varvara, a pianist, refused to speak Ukrainian, and all the 
brothers opted for the Russian side. This information from Oleksander 
Zhorliakevych, a Galician Ukrainian serving in the Sichovi Striltsi in Kiev in 
1918/19, whom Lidiia Vinogradova, a doctor, sent away from Kiev to her family 
in Kharkiv when he developed pneumonia, letter of 10 June 1978, pp. 3-4. 
Arnold Margolin’s elder daughter, who grew up before the lawyer became 
consciously pro-Ukrainian, is a Zionist uninterested in the Ukrainian national 
movement with which her younger sister, Liubov M. Hansen, identified herself. 

12. Luhovy, Vyznachne zhinotstvo Ukrainy, 127. 

13. Recent Soviet scholars, among them O. R. Mazurkevych and T. M. Riznychenko, 
have attributed the proclamation to Alchevska. Fuller discussion in M. I. Mukhin, 
Pedahohichni pohliady i osvitnia diialnist Kh. D. Alchevskoi (Kiev, 1979). Al- 
chevska wanted to name her literacy school for adults in honour of Shevchenko, 
and was the first to put up a monument to the poet. She also pioneered in the 
didactic patriotic celebrations commemorating various occasions, as well as in the 
public wearing of peasant costume by educated women. But tsarist government 
regulations forced her to stop teaching in Ukrainian and use Russian, which was 
less effective among the Ukrainian-speaking peasants who constituted the bulk of 
the proletariat that settled in Kharkiv. Tsentralnyi Derzhavnyi Istorychnyi Arkhiv 
(Kiev), f. 2052, op. 1, spr. 96, 97ff. contains much of Alchevska’ s corres- 

14. Okhrana file on the Spilka in Tsentralnyi Gosudarstvennyi Istoricheskii Arkhiv, 
Moscow, f. 102, D. P. VII No. 8468 (25 VIII, 1906-29 I, 1913) po nabliudeniiu 
za formalnym doznaniem o deiatelnosti Kievskoi revoliutsionnoi organizatsii 
Spilka , 121: “It was the major disseminator of revolutionary propaganda in the 
villages, and the centre of the activities of [the revolutionaries].” The police 

Ukrainian and Russian Women 


considered it a seedbed of Ukrainian unrest, and were perturbed by the quantity of 
materials in the “Galician dialect” that the Spilka used. Soviet works, on the other 
hand, stress that the goal of the Spilka was to prevent the formation of a separatist 
Ukrainian revolutionary organization and to encourage Ukraine’s proletariat to 
join the all-Russian revolutionary organization rather than the Ukrainian ones, 
which, by implication, were having greater success in recruiting workers and 
peasants. See, e.g., Kotsiubynskyi iak hromadskyi diiach (Kiev, 1968), using as 
evidence other Okhrana information found in Tsentralnyi Derzhavnyi Istorychnyi 
Arkhiv, Kiev, f. 274, No. 1215, p. 54. Additional information on Spilka in TsDIA, 
Kiev, f. 274, op. 4, od. zb. 301. Ukrainian authors abroad see the Spilka as an 
attempt to limit the influence of the Ukrainian Marxist intelligentsia, e.g., Ivan 
Maistrenko, Istoriia Komunistychnoi Partii Ukraiiny (n.p., 1979), 13-15, basing 
himself upon Panas Fedenko, Ukrainskyi hromadskyi rukh u XX st. (Podebrady, 

15. The alienated heroines emerged in Volodymyr Vynnychenko’s portrayals of life 
in the urban centres of Ukraine, just as they did in Mikhail Bulgakov’s descrip- 
tions of life in Kiev. 

16. Oleksander Lototsky, Storinky mynuloho (Warsaw, 1932), 2: 213. 

17. Tsentralnyi Derzhavnyi Istorychnyi Arkhiv, Kiev, f. 102, op. 100, ed. khr. 28 g 3, 
1908, p. 26; also Russkie vedomosti, 17 January 1908; and Ridnyi krai, 15 January 
1908. The latter journal was edited by Olena Pchilka. 

18. The two major sources on the Kiev Higher Courses for Women are a booklet of 
thirty-five pages published in Kiev by the University Press in 1884 entitled 
Istoricheskaia zapiska i otchet o kievskikh vysshikh zhenskikh kursakh za pervoe 
chetyrekhletie 1878-1882 in Tsentralnyi Derzhavnyi Istorychnyi Arkhiv URSR 
(Kiev), f. 707, op. 151, sprv. 30; and a series of documents and correspondence 
about the courses dated from 12 September 1878 to 16 June 1879, ibid., f. 442, 
op. 828, od.zb. 146. The apprehension of the lower administration and the 
Okhrana concerning the whole “Ukrainophile” movement emerges clearly in 
these documents. 

19. Mariia Tkachenko Livytska, born into a middle-class but upwardly mobile 
Russified Ukrainian family, married the man who would become the president-in- 
exile of the Ukrainian National Republic. Quotation from Na hrani dvokh epokh, 

20. The Starytskys, the Kosaches, and the Lysenkos lived in neighbouring houses. 
Like the Rusovs and the Kovalevskys, they had extreme difficulty in travelling in 
the Russian Empire and abroad. See, for example, Tsentralnyi Gosudarstvennyi 
Istoricheskii Arkhiv, D.D. Politsii 102, O.O. No. 438, 1899, p. 2. The police 
stressed that Rusov had contacts with the Old Hromada, as well as with liberals 
who moved from Ukraine, among them the Petrunkevich brothers and Countess 

21. Rusov, “Kak ia stal chlenom Gromady,” Ukrainskaia zhizn, no. 10 (1913): 40^4-9. 

22. Tsentralnyi Gosudarstvennyi Istoricheskii Arkhiv, f. 102, O.O. Delo Dept. 
Politsii, no. 438, 1899, p. 4. After the Revolution, the Bolsheviks offered Rusova 
a chair in pedagogy at Kamianets-Podilsky. She escaped to Galicia after two 


Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak 

years. Her most radical activity was the denunciation of the Soviet Union’s de- 
struction of its own population before the International Women’s League for 
Peace and Freedom in 1934. 

23. Tsentralnyi Derzhavnyi Istorychnyi Arkhiv, Kiev, f. 442, op. 625, spr. 273, 
pp. 1-9. The revolutionary activity of the Plater family in the 1863 Polish 
uprising was apparently forgotten. 

24. The Russian Society for the Protection of Women, founded in 1900, was affiliated 
with the central office in London. 

25. Information on the Kievan branch in Tsentralnyi Derzhavnyi Istorychnyi Arkhiv, 
Kiev, fond 442, op. 643; Otchet za 1912 god , ibid., spr. 48, pp. 36 and 15, on 
attempts to reach out to Jewish working women. Polish women had their own 
organizations throughout Ukraine, in addition to working in central ones. Jews in 
Ukraine also developed a network of self-help organizations; for full listings see 
M. V. Dovnar-Zapolsky and A. I. Iaroshevich, eds., Ves lugo-Zapadnyi Krai: 
Spravochnaia i adresnaia kniga (Kiev, 1913). 

26. The analysts in the Special Section of the Okhrana reported that even legally 
sanctioned Ukrainian organizations were engaged in revolutionary activity, 
connected with both the Social Revolutionary and the Social Democratic parties. 
To top it all off, they had ties with the Galician Ukrainians, who, in the 
terminology used by the police, followed in Mazepa’s footsteps in trying to break 
the tie with Russia; Tsentralnyi Gosudarstvennyi Istoricheskii Arkhiv, f. 102, 
op. 13, ed. khr. 163 m 15 ch 5/1911, pp. \-A. Ukrainian organizations were 
among the first to fall victim to the reaction that followed the liberalization of 

27. The Women’s Progressive Party, after the requisite preamble on the rights of 
women and men, proclaimed that “all Russian citizens, regardless of differences 
in sex, religion and nationality, are equal before the law.” While not actually 
coming to grips with the terminology it was using, the stillborn party also 
proclaimed “the unification ( obedinenie ) of all the nationalities ( narodnosti ) 
inhabiting Russia in the name of all human ideals. All-Russian ( russkie ) 
nationalities shall enjoy full freedom in the use of their language in print, in the 
courts, in education and in public agencies. The language of the state will be 
Russian.” Tsentralnyi Gosudarstvennyi Istoricheskii Arkhiv, f. 516, ed. khr. 17, 
p. 3 1 . The Publications Commission planned a booklet on “The Woman Question 
and Autonomy of Nationalities,” ibid., ed. khr. 6, p. 4, but this was dropped from 
the list in the published version of the programme, ibid., ed. khr. 14, p. 56. In 
St. Petersburg, the Women’s Club, reflecting some interest in the nationality 
issue, invited A. A. Stakhovich to speak on the controversial Kholm area. They 
also sponsored a round-table discussion on “The Meaning of the Ukrainian 
Question,” and asked V. M. Speransky, a philosopher, to speak on Maria 
Bashkirtseff, the Ukrainian painter who lived her brief life in France and left a 
frank diary; TsGIA, f. 516, ed. khr. 15, pp. 32, 44 and 60. 

28. In Kharkiv, one of the first points raised was that the Union should join the 
International Council of Women, the oldest international women’s organization; 
TsGIA, f. 516, ed. khr. 12, p. 1 1 and 16-17. The moving force behind the Union 
in Moscow was Mariia A. Chekhova, wife of the educator. She worried not only 

Ukrainian and Russian Women 


about the long-range plans of the Union but also how the women who were not 
used to speaking would manage to run the meetings and congresses; TsGIA, 
f. 516, ed. khr. 14, esp. pp. 147-57. 

29. TsGIA, f. 516, ed. khr. 28, p. 28. The programme demanded equality for women 
as a matter of course, and specifically stressed the need for Russia to convene a 
constituent, not only a representative, assembly, ibid., ed. khr. 1, p. 4. 

30. TsGIA, f. 516, ed. khr. 5, p. 37 for the latter quotation, p. 68 for the former. 
Chekhova received letters from many non-Russian women that reiterated the 
demands for autonomy, TsGIA, f. 516, ed. khr. 18, 24-8 and ed. khr. 7. 

31. Ibid., ed. khr. 5, p. 71. Some Russian feminists were hurt by the failure of the 
liberals to come out openly for woman suffrage. Shakhmatova complained that 
the Constitutional Liberal Party would give the vote “to all the Samoeds, 
Chukchi, Tungus and lakuts, but deny it to women,” ibid., ed. khr. 1, p. 50. 

32. Olha Kosach Kryvyniuk, ed., Lesia Ukrainka: Khronolohiia zhyttia i tvorchosty 
(New York, 1970), especially 767; Pchilka, “Ukrainky i ikh pratsia na 
Zhinochomu Zizdi v Sanktpeterburgu,” Ridnyi krai, no. 8 (1909): 8-10; also 
“Zhinochyi zizd,” Ridnyi krai, no. 39 (9 December 1908): 2 and no. 9 (1909): 
12-13, news items. The flexible statute of the Union of Equality enabled the 
establishment of ethnic branches. In Kamianets-Podilskyi, Polish women under 
the leadership of the wife of the governor (Dunin-Borkowski) organized a society 
affiliated with the Union but Polish in membership. Soiuz zhenshchin, no. 3 
(October 1907): 14; also TsGIA, f. 516, ed. khr. 7. Individual branches of the 
Union stressed the need for autonomy, see report of delegate Zelenskaia (no first 
name given) from Kiev at the Congress of 21 May 1906, TsGIA, f. 516, ed. 
khr. 5, pp. 94-96. 

33. Quoted in a news item on the women in Nova hromada: Literatumo-naukovyi 
misiachnyk, no. 1 (1906): 131-2; also see TsGIA, f. 516, ed. khr. 5, p. 66. 

34. Report of the October 1908 Congress in Soiuz zhenshchin, no. 12 (December 
1908): 12, mentions the work of Pchilka. 1 have been unable to locate it. It may 
be in the Pchlika Archive at the Institute of Literature, Academy of Sciences in 
Kiev. I have been unable to work in that archive. 

35. One reason was the association of the feminists with the liberals. The Ukrainian 
progressives were more at home in the radical camp, at least as far as rhetoric was 
concerned. The few Ukrainians writing brief informative sketches on the history 
of the women’s movements in Ukraine had limited access even to published 
sources. Hence, Pchilka is sometimes credited with the actual establishment of a 
central Ukrainian women’s organization that “issued a manifesto demanding 
autonomy for Ukraine.” Iryna Pavlykovska, Na hromadskyi shliakh: Z nahody 
70-littia ukrainskoho zhinochoho rukhu (Philadelphia, 1956), 72. 

36. A particularly strong article in Ridnyi krai, no. 25 (1909): 9-12. 

37. Some Galician Ukrainians, among them the educator Konstantyna Malytska, were 
exiled by the Russian military command in a futile attempt to eradicate 
Ukrainianism. Others, of whom Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky was the most 
prominent, were taken hostage. Among the prisoners of war was the young Olena 
Stepaniv, the first woman to volunteer to serve in the Austrian Imperial Army 


Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak 

after the outbreak of war. A number of Russophile Galician families answered the 
lure of the White Tsar, some of them encouraged by the more tangible lure of the 
ruble. A few were romantic maidens who thought they were being rescued from 
provincial Galicia, only to be abandoned by their rescuers. 

38. Zinaida Mirna, “Zhinky v Ukrainskii Tsentralnii Radi,” Almanakh Zhinochoi doli 
(Kolomyia, 1929), 14. 

39. N. V. Akhmatova and E. N. Tsellurius, Tovarishch Olga (Moscow, 1969), 122-3; 
Stites, The Women ’s Liberation Movement in Russia, passim and Zhinocha volia: 
Chytanka (Kharkiv, n.d. [probably 1925]), and Ukrainska Radianska Entsyk- 
lopedia II, 1925. Stites views the Ukrainian zhinviddily as a provincial 
phenomenon and completely overlooks national communism. 


John A. Armstrong 

Myth and History in the Evolution of 
Ukrainian Consciousness 

Approaches centering on myth and symbol set the pattern for social-science 
investigation during the 1980s much as group theory prevailed during the 
1950s, structural functionalism in the 1960s, and “policy studies” in the 1970s. 
A small but revealing sign is the devotion of a whole series of panels, at the 
1982 Rio de Janeiro convention of the International Political Science 
Association, to “Symbols and Myths.” Like all trends in intellectual affairs, the 
new emphasis is part of a long-range cycle, for which the revival of the work of 
the German phenomenologist Ernst Cassirer is sufficient indication. But it is 
equally true that contemporary concerns for myth and symbol contain 
impressive new conceptual elements derived, especially, from anthropology. I 
believe that the new approach, combining elements from the philosophical 
idealism which constituted the starting point for nationalist historical thinking 
with the critical stance of the phenomenologist and the anthropologist, is 
especially suitable for explorations of national evolution such as the early 
stages of Ukrainian development. 

In my view, therefore, the approach stressing myth and symbol will in a 
sense supersede critical approaches to Ukrainian national identity which 
prevailed in the decades following World War II. Let me hasten to add that this 
sweeping judgement is directed as much at my own writings as others’. 1 
Moreover, the term “supersede” is intended only in the sense of conceptual 
analysis, not in terms of substantive results. Myth, symbol and related concepts 
constitute an illuminating way of looking at data and even at generalizations, 
not a requirement for entirely new materials. Moreover, the older critical 
approaches have provided indispensible preparation for the new departure. One 
may hope that they will ultimately combine with the new approach to form a 
new synthesis. 

What were these older critical approaches? The earliest, like the myth- 
symbol model, emphasized the role of ideas. As developed by Friedrich 
Meinecke, Hans Kohn and Carlton Hayes, nationalism as a branch of the 
history of ideas treated the phenomenon as the spread, from one elite to others, 
of a doctrine originating in Western Europe during the Enlightenment, the 
French Revolution and Romanticism. 2 This doctrine represented something new 
under the sun — the notion that each group with sharply distinguishable cultural 
characteristics ought to constitute an independent — or at least autonomous — 


John A. Armstrong 

polity. Focus on the idea of nationalism encouraged concern for the effects of 
historical traditions, acceptance of an established state, religious conflict, and 
popular practice; in practice, though, the dominant group characteristic was 
perceived to be linguistic. Generally, all these elements, but especially lan- 
guage, were regarded as “primordial,” not necessarily in the sense of having 
existed from time immemorial, but as elements taken as given for the historical 
period which the students of nationalism regarded as decisive . 3 Their 
investigation, accordingly, was primarily if not solely concerned with how and 
why such elements became incorporated in national ideology. To put the matter 
another way, assuming that diffusion of the idea of nationalism was the issue, 
the approach implicitly rejected concern for the longue duree, that is, for the 
possibility that identity has been a highly persistent phenomenon, but one that 
has been characterized by shifting, heterogeneous attributes. 

For obvious reasons, the history of ideas approach had a special appeal for 
scholars dealing with what were called “ahistorical nations,” including the 
Ukrainians. In the short-range historical perspective the appearance of national- 
ism among such “unconscious” groups could be atttributed to diffusion. The 
rapid heightening of nationalist intensity could be traced to successive 
ideological influences, such as that of the Action Fran?aise. Unquestionably 
such interpretations have considerable validity, apart from their utility in 
providing a preliminary framework which makes the longer-range perspective 
afforded by myth and symbol comprehensible. Without awareness of the 
derivative nature of much Ukrainian thinking during the inter-war period, 
efforts to apply myth analysis to earlier phases of Ukrainian identity can be 
very misleading. For example, it would be quite wrong to regard Ukraine as an 
“ahistorical nation.” Like all other examples of ethnic consciousness, Ukrainian 
consciousness arose through the efforts of elites composed of nobles, clergy, 
bourgeois, i. e., of “clerks” in the old, broad sense of the term. What is needed, 
therefore, is a long prespective in which the activities of these bearers of high 
culture can be placed. 

Hayes, Kohn and Meinecke concentrated almost entirely on ideas. The 
bearers of these ideas were traced almost exclusively in biographical terms. 
After World War II, scholars who applied the idea of nationalism approach to 
the Ukrainian experience were, on the other hand, highly sensitive to the 
complexities of social structure. These scholars endeavoured to apply soc- 
iological methods to the study of the transmission of nationalist notions, 
especially in Soviet Ukraine. Iwan Koropeckyj’s analysis of “Demographic 
Change among Russians and Ukrainians” is an excellent example of the genre. 
Earlier works include, notably, Boris Lewytzkyj’s Die Sowjetukraine and books 
by Yaroslav Bilinsky, Robert Sullivant and Jurij Borys . 4 Methods such as 
cohort analysis are especially pertinent for recent Ukrainian history, with its 
intense generational conflict and the salience of such categories as sons of 
Ukrainian Catholic priests and children of “de-kulakized” peasants. Like the 

Myth and History in Ukrainian Consciousness 


history of ideas, the sociological approach has constituted an essential step in 
preparing for better understanding of identity. Sociological quantification will 
continue to supplement the study of Ukrainian evolution, even, when feasible, 
for chronologically remote periods. Elsewhere I have expressed, with due 
awareness of the practical limitations of quantification, the view that every 
social generalization ultimately is quantitative in nature and should be made so 
in fact to the degree our knowledge and resources permit. 5 At times Ukrainian 
scholars have expressed fear that concern for the “hard data” of career patterns, 
demographic distribution, cohort characteristics and the like leads to “mater- 
ialism,” or, still worse, to Marxist materialism. To me such concerns have 
always appeared groundless. In fact, many of the conceptual underpinnings of 
sociological approaches, notably Parsonian structural functionalism, derive 
from quasi-idealist philosophies such as Max Weber’s. More significant is the 
circumstance that the methods and approaches derived from sociology do not 
themselves provide the conceptual tools for handling a long-range development 
such as national identity. The foremost Parsonian political scientist, Gabriel 
Almond, makes the point in another context when he urges his colleagues to 
“take the historical cure.” 6 The question, then, is what models are most appro- 
priate for providing that longitudinal dimension for our subject ? 

Among the sociological approaches (especially those emphasizing quanti- 
fication), potentially the most relevant for investigation of the longue duree is 
Karl Deutsch’s model in Nationalism and Social Communication 7 Appearing 
in 1953, this innovative book elevated to a methodologically sophisticated level 
the concern for “channels for communication” that some of us had begun to 
perceive as critical to the diffusion of nationalism in a huge, partially 
unstructured region such as Eastern Ukraine. The significance of cities for 
identity diffusion, the options inherent in the availability of several linguistic 
codes, and, above all, the distinction between latent and overt identity are all 
spelled out by Deutsch. His concern for processes of modernization, on the 
other hand, produced a chronologically truncated model mainly applicable (like 
the idea of nationalism approach) to nineteenth- and twentieth-century 
phenomena. Although his earliest pioneering work had recognized the impor- 
tance of the symbolic content of communications, Nationalism and Social 
Communication emphasized overt, physical networks. Restoring concern for the 
symbolic content would, I think, make the book’s model highly useful for 
investigations of the longue duree. Like the religious symbols discussed by 
Clifford Geertz, symbols of ethnic identity constitute “stored meanings” which 
sum up what group members know of the world and their place in it. 8 To un- 
derstand their impact, one must also examine the communications networks by 
which they are transmitted synchronically in space and the mythic structures by 
which the symbols are integrated and transmitted diachronically from genera- 
tion to generation. 


John A. Armstrong 

The Myth and the Ukrainians 

My brief presentation cannot be an application, even in outline form, of the 
new approach combining myth, symbol and communication to Ukrainian 
identity. All I intend to do is suggest some ways in which an application might 
proceed and certain problems it would encounter. The peculiar brevity of overt 
Ukrainian national experience made shorter-range approaches attractive a gen- 
eration ago. This brevity makes application of the myth approach corres- 
pondingly difficult. In my own explorations, a step-by-step comparative 
approach (perhaps “groping” would better express my proceeding) has been 
most satisfying. Initial attention to the extraordinary persistence of diaspora 
ethnic identity, embracing as many millennia, at the overt level, as an 
“ahistoric” nation extends to centuries, impressed me with the appropriateness 
of the myth-symbol interpretation. Properly modified, such an approach is just 
as applicable to Ukrainian identity. Moreover, because it raises issues that are 
not so obvious as they are for Armenians or Jews, the approach may be even 
more revealing for Ukrainians. 

Anyone even moderately familiar with Ukrainian thinking may immediately 
object that concern for the distant past, for the longue duree , has not only been 
present throughout the past century, but has been the core of the nationalist 
argument. Far from rejecting such a critique, I must defend myself by recalling 
that nearly thirty years ago, when the conventional attribution of “father of 
Ukrainian nationalism” would have been to Mykola Kostomarov or Taras 
Shevchenko, I explicitly used this phrase to refer to Mykhailo Hrushevsky . 9 
The Istoriia Ukrainy-Rusy occupies a central place on my shelves, for it is as 
striking a monument to nineteenth-century exhaustive documentation as one 
can find . 10 I am utterly incompetent to judge whether the version of Kiev and 
its successors that Hrushevsky presented is “truer” than other versions. The 
basic insight provided by the anthropological approach is that such questions 
are irrelevant for identity except insofar as they affect a constitutive myth. 
Claude Levi-Strauss forcefully expresses this position: “Our method thus 
eliminates a problem which has, so far, been one of the main obstacles to the 
progress of mythological studies, namely, the quest for the true version, or the 
earlier one. On the contrary, we define the myth as consisting of all its 
versions, or, to put it otherwise, a myth remains the same as long as it is felt as 
such . 11 In another work Levi-Strauss relates this theoretical position, which may 
at first reading appear cavalier, to a specific and highly charged political 
context: “Under what conditions is the myth of the French Revolution possi- 
ble?” He replies that it is a matter of context, that if “we place ourselves 
outside it — as the man of science is bound to do — what appeared as an 
experienced truth first becomes confused and finally disappears altogether .” 12 

If one accepts Levi-Strauss’ s anthropological analysis, the purely scientific 
effect of a work like Hrushevsky’ s is myth-dissolving rather than myth- 

Myth and History in Ukrainian Consciousness 


constituting. Indeed, one may doubt that Hrushevsky converted many people, 
even intellectuals, to Ukrainian nationalism. Let me be blunt: how many 
educated Ukrainians have really read his ten volumes and compared them 
carefully to, say, V. O. Kliuchevsky’s five-volume history of Russia? How, 
then, can I consider Hrushevsky to have played an indispensable role in the 
evolution of the Ukrainian identity myth? The answer, which I could not have 
formulated in the 1950s, begins with the assumption that scientific history itself 
had become a part of the supranational intellectual myth of the nineteenth 
century. By the late nineteenth or earlier twentieth century, a national ideology 
had to provide, superficially, scientific historic validation for its myth, but in 
reality had to dissolve competing myths by scientific critiques. The great 
competitor for the Ukrainian myth was the potent version of “primordial” East 
Slavic evolution which Muscovy had been developing for centuries and which 
nineteenth-century historians such as Kliuchevsky apparently validated. 13 
Hrushevsky’ s work, by effectively neutralizing the Russian historians’ version, 
permitted the active development of the Ukrainian myth to proceed according 
to the formula which Eric Dardel 14 advances: “The myth past cannot be dated, 
it is a past ‘before time,’ or, better, outside time. Primordial actions are lost in 
the night of time... [the myth narrator] draws the audience of the story away, 
but only to make them set themselves at the desired distance” — which, for 
Ukrainian nationalists, was a distance sufficient to permit confident action. Of 
course, Hrushevsky, a man of many talents, took his turn at this action, but I 
consider his fundamental contribution to have been his superb intellectual 
legitimization of the national myth. 

The special relationship of scientific scholarship and Ukrainian national 
identity is clarified by a brief look at the linguistic question, which has usually 
played such a critical role in the evolution of nationalism. In my observation, 
the most neglected work on the history of Ukraine is Antoine Martel’s “La 
langue polonaise dans les pays ruthenes.” 15 As far as my inexpert appraisal 
goes, the conclusions of this French scholar — who died a half-century ago — 
stand up well in the light of subsequent specialized studies. His basic point is 
that, as late as the seventeenth century, a vast area of the Dnieper Valley was 
inhabited by Eastern Slavs still indistinguishable in national identity. Inhabi- 
tants remote from one another did use considerably different patois, but the 
most sharply differentiated speeches were separated by innumerable transitional 
dialects shading off into one another rather than by sharp linguistic boundaries. 
Such was especially the case between the groups known today as “Ukrainians” 
and “Belorussians.” Only gradually, under the centrifugal influences of cultural 
centers in Kiev and Lviv on the one hand, and Vilnius on the other, did 
distinctive languages emerge. Even today the Polissian linguistic boundary can 
be delineated only by resort to arbitrary isoglossic definitions. The situation in 
certain regions such as Smolensk adjoining present-day “Russian-language” 
regions was not then very different. Moreover, all these Dnieper Slavs retained 


John A. Armstrong 

a diffuse memory of their descent from Kievan Rus’ as well as a sharper sense 
of their common Orthodoxy. 

Antoine Martel believed that the linguistic allegiance and ethnic identity of 
the area still (in the seventeenth century) presented various options. The 
evolution of a common East Slavic literary language in Poland-Lithuania was 
one; acculturation to the prestigious Polish literary speech was another; a third 
was eventual ascendance of the evolving Muscovite literary language. The op- 
tion ultimately taken up would depend in large measure on political pressures. 
In evaluating this analysis, I am impressed by the parallel with “Greater 
Romania” along the north-western coasts of the Mediterranean. In both cases 
the apparently natural evolution of a broadly based literary language in the 
central linguistic zone was thwarted by the intrusion of peripheral languages 
backed by political power — Polish and Muscovite Russian in the Dnieper 
region, Castilian, Tuscan and the langue d’oi'l in the Mediterranean area . 16 What 
is clear is that subsequent linguistic studies which disregard the impact of 
political power and the myths of identity which such power upholds cannot 
fully explain the outcomes. 

The brief references just presented suggest that what is at stake in the 
evolution of national identity is neither demographic nor linguistic continuity, 
as historiography or philology may determine them, but the acceptance of 
mythic versions more or less deliberately manipulated. If this is true, the 
pertinent question becomes not “Did the core population of Kievan Rus’ remain 
in what is now Ukraine?” or “Whose speech more closely resembles a putative 
undivided East Slavic?” but “Whose myth can relate most satisfyingly to the 
myth of the great period of early East Slavic development?” It is trite to remark 
that the myth of the Polish-Lithuanian polity, which even as late as the 
seventeenth century appeared to possess many advantages, foundered on the 
question of religion. From our present perspective, the pressures of the Coun- 
ter-Reformation on the Orthodox Eastern Slavs appear — not least to Roman 
Catholics — to have been an inexcusable blunder. It is hardly surprising that 
even Soviet Russians, therefore, have treated the rebellion of Bohdan 
Khmelnytsky and his “choice” in the Treaty of Pereiaslav of the Orthodox Tsar 
as the central drama of the “ingathering” of the Rus’ legacy . 17 By the 
seventeenth century, however, as Jaroslaw Pelenski has demonstrated, the 
Muscovite Russian imperial myth had absorbed highly variegated elements. In 
particular, the temptation for the princes of Muscovy to claim and gradually to 
absorb the heritage of the steppe empires erected a formidable barrier to their 
subsequent adoption of the Kievan myth, which derived from a polity 
fundamentally different from the autocratic Eurasian empires. In the plain- 
speaking Stalinist historiography, the issue was clear: “The most important re- 
sult of the unification [at Pereiaslav] with Russia was the circumstance that 
Ukraine was incorporated into a centralized state. Political centralism was the 
mighty instigator of economic and cultural progress .” 18 The most striking 

Myth and History in Ukrainian Consciousness 


aspect of centralization under Peter I (and his successors, who really began to 
incorporate the Zaporozhian Ukraine) was the subordination of the Orthodox 
Church to Caesaropapism. It is highly significant that Peter resorted to 
Lutheran theories exalting the ruler’s power in order to legitimize the 
subordination. Like the other pressures for centralization which Marc Raeff so 
trenchantly analyzes, church subordination, therefore, was as much the result of 
Western European influences as of Russian tradition. Later (during the 
eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth century) cameralistic and 
Enlightenment absolutism exerted similar pressures toward centralization. From 
this standpoint, heightened Russian autocracy was one aspect of a general 
European movement toward absolutist rule in multi-ethnic polities — what 
Austrian bureaucrats termed the “Good Enlightenment.” But it is important to 
point out that the impact of such Western ideas, together with the process of 
bureaucratic centralization which they legitimized, reached Russia nearly a 
century later than they did Western and Central Europe. 

Since the strongest external manifestation of the myth of Orthodox unity 
(which had attracted Khmelnytsky) has been the presence, for many centuries, 
of the Orthodox ecclesiastical head in Moscow, the negative effect of the 
tension between centralizing and archaicizing elements in the later Muscovite 
Russian myth is evident. More positively, strains arising from the inconsistent 
sources of this myth afforded an opportunity for the counter-myth, which was 
to form the basis for Ukrainian identity, to arise. Whatever the demographic or 
linguistic connections may have been, it is obvious that the Eastern Slavs of 
Kievan Rus’ did not call themselves “Ukrainians.” The heart of the Kievan 
commonwealth itself was near the steppe “border.” As Russian no less than 
Ukrainian historiography recognizes, Kiev was, therefore, a frontier society, 
engaged in perennial conflict with successive nomadic agglomerations. Until 
the Mongol invasion such conflict was compatible with a high degree of 
decentralization, sometimes verging on communal democracy. Like many other 
“borderers,” Kievans (as far as one can perceive their mentality) retained a sig- 
nificant element of individual or clan independence in their identity conscious- 
ness. The overwhelming Mongol victory disrupted this spirit of independence, 
although (I am indebted for this suggestion to Jaroslaw Pelenski) the Halych 
region may have retained a more open type of society. By mimesis of the 
steppe empires, autocratic centralism slowly developed in most effective 
defensive reaction to the extreme pressures of Mongol-Tatar rule, which other- 
wise might have become genocidal. Given the limitations of the period in 
resources and control mechanisms, centralization was necessarily accompanied 
by quasi-independent, indeed anarchic warrior outposts on the edge of the 
steppe — the numerous little “Okrains” or “Ukraines” that Gunther Stokl has 
graphically described . 19 These Cossack warriors were neither ideologically self- 
sufficient (because viable legitimizing myths are nearly always produced by a 
“great tradition” elaborated in cities and religious centres) nor technologically 


John A. Armstrong 

autonomous (the cannon that defeated the steppe raiders had to be cast in a 
large, stable polity). From the sixteenth-century Oka frontier down to the 
eighteenth-century conquest of Azov, the tsars gradually dominated and 
domesticated the south-eastern Cossacks most dependent on Moscow for these 
urban artifacts. Possibly the south-western Cossacks were somewhat less de- 
pendent on Polish cities. In any case, as noted earlier, the Dnieper Cossacks’ 
legitimizing ideology was ultimately incompatible with the Counter- 
Reformation myth of the Polish elite. 

The physical impact of Khmelnytsky’s rebellion inculcated among Orthodox 
clergy and peasantry of the middle Dnieper valley an enduring myth of a 
saviour from the frontier. This myth, more than distinctive language or the 
memory of Kievan Rus’, constituted the foundation of an embryonic 
“Ukrainian” identity. However, the myth components of individual heroism, 
unconstrained movement, and local independence do appear to have been more 
^ compatible with the diffuse memory of Kiev than was the Russian centralizing 
autocratic myth. It is worth noting that similar mythic elements appeared 
elsewhere along a very long frontier between Islam and Christendom . 20 Many 
of these Antemurale mythic elements were incorporated into the constitutive 
myths of nearby Christian polities — the Castilian monarchy, the Habsburg 
Empire, Poland, Russia. But the frontier experience had its own momentum, 
occasionally facilitating the preservation or emergence of separate identity 
myths. As in Ukraine, some of these could be used by nineteenth-century 
nationalists as starting points for their ideologies. 

Problems of Symbolic Identification for Ukrainians 

The sketch just presented merely suggests directions a more competent, 
detailed analysis might take. Awareness of such directions is a necessary 
preliminary for suggesting ways in which the myth-symbol approach can 
identify problems that both Ukrainian nationalist intellectuals and outside 
students of their movement must encounter. 

A familiar problem is the extreme difficulty any nationalist myth encounters 
when the customary foci of high culture, the cities, are almost entirely 
dominated by alien cultures. The only feasible alternative for myth elaboration, 
a non-urban high culture centering on royal court and gentry lifestyles (as in 
Poland and Hungary), was also unavailable to Ukrainians. Leading families 
from the Cossacks, like the Skoropadskys, rapidly identified with either the 
Russian service nobility or the Polish gentry, since status ascent was associated 
with assimilation to a high culture. As accelerated urban growth belatedly 
reached Ukraine, lower-status Ukrainians moving to the cities frequently 
assimilated in accordance with the pattern Karl Deutsch has analyzed. Further 
investigation of the sociological factors involved may explain why certain 
intellectuals persisted in their Ukrainian identity or reidentified themselves as 

Myth and History in Ukrainian Consciousness 


Ukrainians in the late nineteenth-century urban environment of “Little Russia.” 
Likewise, while it is apparent that chance and opportunism affected the larger 
group which re-identified itself as Ukrainian after the February Revolution, 
closer investigation may be rewarding. Certainly one influence was the latent 
availability of the Cossack myth version. 

It seems clear, though, that this myth, with its strong Orthodox overtones 
and explicit associations (negative as well as positive) with Russian hegemony 
was less significant for the one sociological group — sons of Ukrainian Catholic 
priests — which can be clearly identified as fervent, articulate adherents of the 
Ukrainian cause prior to World War I. The presence in Galicia of a distinctive 
religious subdivision provided (as for numerous other nineteenth-century 
national awakenings) the principal basis for reidentification. The marginal posi- 
tion of priests’ sons in a semi-feudal society which provided no special niche 
for Catholic clerical families constituted an obvious social-psychological 
incentive for asserting separate ethnic identity. It is significant that this group 
hesitated for decades between re-identification with Russia (where Orthodox 
clerical families did have special status) and development of a Ukrainian 
identity. What role did the Cossack myth play in this process of choice? Was it 
irrelevant, or did it present an obstacle to re-identification as Russians? Did the 
myth ultimately provide an epiphany of national assertiveness? How did this 
process effect the continuing tension between the Eastern and Western 
Ukrainian versions of nationalism? What is needed is study of these questions, 
not so much as an exercise in the overt expression of ideas, but in terms of 
shifting symbolic attachment. 

I have pointed out that the myth is the integrating phenomenon through 
which symbols of national identity acquire a coherent meaning. It is, never- 
theless, possible to perceive the broad outlines of a national constitutive myth 
without being able to specify most of its symbols. This aspect of myth-symbol 
interrelation has recently been explored most penetratingly by the French 
historian Maurice Agulhon in Marianne au combat: L’imagerie et la sym- 
bolique republicainesf As the earlier quotations from Levi-Strauss indicate, 
the way in which the Left-Right division in the French body politic has been 
intensified and perpetuated by myths of the Revolution is a commonplace. But 
how these competing myths were communicated to potential adherents, 
especially through successive generations, is not so well understood. By con- 
centrating on the feminine symbol of the Republic as reflected in the visual 
arts, especially in public statuary, Agulhon provides a striking demonstration of 
the importance of non-verbal communication. 

Secular art and architecture of the type Agulhon discusses has been used by 
established polities for centuries to symbolize identity. Such symbolism, usual- 
ly associated with urban centres or royal courts, was unavailable to Ukrainians. 
For certain similarly deprived ethnic groups (e. g., the Irish and the nineteenth- 
century Poles) ecclesiastical symbolism provided a potent alternative. Cults of 


John A. Armstrong 

patron saints (Patrick, Stanislaus), the rich symbolism of pilgrimage centres, 
dedicatory liturgies and mythic linkage to remote national rulers were virtually 
denied to Ukrainians as such. St. Vladimir, as his monument in Kiev still 
testifies, had been incorporated into Russian imperial symbolism. The 
Pecherska Lavra was and is a general East Slavic pilgrimage center, although 
both Nazi violence and Soviet actions indicate that the occupying powers 
feared that the monastery may become a Ukrainian symbol. But competition for 
these and other religious identity symbols, such as the Kremianets monastery, 
deserve closer scrutiny than Friedrich Heyer or I realized should be devoted to 
them . 22 

Deprived of most public symbols of identity, cultivators of the Ukrainian 
myth were obliged to revive almost forgotten symbols (the tryzub) or elevate 
such popular customs as the peasant chorus, the bandura, and distinctive 
peasant dress to the level of symbols. Apart from the difficulty of standardizing 
customs (such as dress) peculiar to numerous specific localities, the latter 
procedure encounters two major obstacles. One is the difficulty, emphasized by 
the French ethnologist Andre Varagnac, of institutionalizing any popular 
customs once the age of mass consumption and communication has arrived. 
Varagnac points out that the Catholic Church, with all its resources, failed to 
institutionalize “St. Joan of Arc Fires” during the early twentieth century . 23 
Soviet sociologists occasionally come close to admitting that the regime cannot 
institutionalize new byty, especially rites of passage . 24 It is hardly surprising, 
therefore, that Ukrainian nationalists have sought other types of symbols. For 
some, emphasis on tangible differences between Russian house styles and 
Ukrainian forms have appeared promising as symbols of identity. At one time I 
shared this position, and I continue to suspect that certain Soviet Ukrainian 
writers emphasize distinctive house styles in order to hint at ethnic differences. 
The most authoritative investigations of European experience indicate, how- 
ever, that such popular artifacts as house styles, furnishings and village layouts 
usually transcend ethnic boundaries, and are readily diffused for instrumental 
reasons without exercising perceptible influence on identity . 25 

Distinctive natural landscapes may have a higher potential for symbolizing 
identity, as David E. Sopher suggests: “The phenomenological view may be 
especially valuable for the recognition of landscape symbols that are taken as 
ethnic markers, if care is taken to apprehend images of very different scale; the 
cultural geographer may ask how these are related to different ecological cir- 
cumstances. Landmarks which may endure for long periods, as cultural markers 
of ethnicity go, can become, through their shared symbolic value, an especially 
powerful means of ethnic identification .” 26 The great German medievalist, Karl 
Vossler, once expressed his astonishment that so little scholarly attention had 
been devoted to the symbolic effect of place names . 27 Anyone who has traveled 
to central Russia and to the mid-Dnieper region observes the striking contrast 
between the vast, mysterious birch forests so beloved of Russian writers and 

Myth and History in Ukrainian Consciousness 


the gentle, open lesostep. Reflections of such differences seem to appear in 
such Soviet works as Istoriia mist i sil Ukrainskoi RSR 28 and possibly even in 
party secretary P. E. Shelest’s last venture into publishing. Close scrutiny, 
perhaps involving statistical content analysis, of differential use of images in 
Soviet Russian and Soviet Ukrainian political speeches and literary productions 
might be rewarding. One ought to recognize, though, that one can expect too 
much from landscape symbolism. After all, both Russia and Ukraine are highly 
varied. With a few exceptions such as the birch forest and the broad Dnieper 
River, specific landscape symbols that resonate throughout the length of either 
cultural area while clearly distinguishing it from the other are rare. 

Anthropological surveys, if permitted, might uncover more direct evidence 
of the strength of landscape symbolism; it is significant, however, that most of 
the data so far available are derived from literary or rhetorical works. In other 
words, the impact of Ukrainian visual symbols cannot be apprehended directly, 
but only through verbal reflections. Verbal expression is itself highly symbolic. 
Indeed, the normal “border guards” distinguishing one ethnic group from an- 
other have been linguistic, like the ancient Hebrew shibboleths or the special 
vocabulary adopted by medieval German-speaking Jews . 29 Unfortunately for 
the development of corresponding Ukrainian linguistic border guards, the 
perpetuation of Church Slavonic into the modem period inhibited the growth of 
a common East Slavic linguistic vehicle (apart from the Muscovite version). As 
Polish authorities noted, the lack of a linguistic vehicle suitable for expressing 
precisely the common body of East Slavic legal principles inhibited the 
autonomous development of the Dnieper Slavs . 30 

From the mid-nineteenth century on, concern for a Ukrainian literary lan- 
guage distinct from Russian has sometimes even taken an exaggerated turn. 
Questions of language have received enormous attention from scholars within 
and outside the Ukrainian S.S.R. These writings exibit a strong implicit aware- 
ness of the symbolic significance of language, as contrasted to its purely 
instrumental aspects. Even within the limitations imposed on Soviet expression, 
such awareness surfaces in criticism of the mixture of Russian locutions in 
nominally Ukrainian speech and writing. Nevertheless, it seems to me, there is 
a certain disjuncture between the artificial linguistic “border guard” solutions 
usually advanced and the fundamental relationship between myth and symbol 
in the evolution of Ukrainian identity. The linguistic purism of Ukrainian 
intellectuals is derived from Central European models for national symbolism 
in which the nineteenth-century vogue of scientific philology played an in- 
ordinate role comparable to the position of scientific history in contemporary 
intellectual circles. For late twentieth-century Ukrainian identity, such models 
appear not merely somewhat anachronistic, but geographically and cultural 

It is easier for an outsider inexpert in the specific disciplines involved to 
criticize the relationship between recent Ukrainian purism and the development 


John A. Armstrong 

of more appropriate symbols than it is to suggest solutions or even lines of 
investigation that might lead to solutions. Contemporary sociolinguistics, 
notably those branches which consider language as code rather than in- 
strumental communication, may have a good deal to contribute, however. A 
personal observation may be illustrative. On my first brief visit to Ukraine in 
1956, Intourist guides dispatched from Moscow occasionally asked me to 
translate public notices in Ukrainian. While visiting a collective farm some 
eighty kilometers south of Kiev, I overheard two of these guides commenting 
to each other that they could not understand what the kolkhozniks were saying. 
At two distinct levels, therefore, Soviet Russians recognize that Ukrainian 
constitutes a distinctive language. At the purely official level, Ukrainian notices 
appear everywhere; but Russians and many urban Ukrainians, hardened to the 
hypocrisy of official Soviet symbolic tokenism, expect all important discussion 
to take place in the “all-union” language. At the rural level, the Russians expect 
Ukrainian to remain what the sociolinguist terms a “restrictive code,” suitable 
only for semiliterate discourse. Because reliance on restricted code is always a 
badge of status inferiority, ordinary Ukrainians try to acquire Russian — as wit- 
ness the great increase shown in recent censuses of Ukrainians using Russian 
habitually or as their second language. The tendency to abandon Ukrainian is 
overwhelming, in fact, for Ukrainians outside the Ukrainian Republic. Yet the 
fact that many such persons continue to identify themselves as Ukrainians 
means that at least in the short run maintenance of linguistic border guards is 
not essential to identity. Such identity depends, instead, on the constitutive 
myth of a freer, less centralized Ukrainian ethnic society, accompanied by, 
perhaps, greater appreciation for military traditions and individual heroism. 31 
To express the matter differently, there is a sharp dichotomy within the Soviet 
Union between the Ukrainian language as a set of trivialized official symbols, 
evidently regarded as expendable by many Ukrainians, and the humiliating 
reality of popular Ukrainian as a low-status restrictive code. Over several 
generations the efforts of devoted intellectuals personally concerned with verbal 
communication have established the language as an adequate literary vehicle, 
but (in Eastern Ukraine) such efforts have not bridged the gap between the two 
truncated symbolic versions of the language in general Soviet usage. 

Sociolinguists, primarily concerned with Third-World nations, suggest a 
variety of strategies to cope with such situations. Some strategies implicitly 
treat bilingualism as a transitory stage in the adoption of a dominant linguistic 
code, but others suggest preservation of separate spheres of language use in 
which the general, dominant language takes over expression of purely 
instrumental significance (technology, etc.), whereas intercourse with a high 
affect content remains in the native speech. 32 What the latter strategy implies is 
the strengthening of the symbolic relationship between the native language and 
the ethnic constitutive myth. There are great obstacles to such an undertaking 
under Soviet conditions. It would appear, nevertheless, that such has been the 

Myth and History in Ukrainian Consciousness 


purport, perhaps unconscious, of many Ukrainian-language publications which 
have incurred official disfavor. Close investigation, in symbolic and socio- 
linguistic terms, of the messages conveyed by these publications and their 
Soviet official critics could be very rewarding. Such investigation might even 
suggest new strategies for relating myth to symbol in Ukrainian identity. 

As I pointed out at the start of this article, the social- science emphasis on 
myth and symbol implies new ways of looking at familiar data rather than 
discovery of fresh bodies of evidence. Neither the old themes nor even the old 
conceptual devices are expendable, especially since the phenomenological < 
aspects of the myth-symbol approach involve complex problems which can 
only be resolved by protracted application of the tools of the sociology of 
knowledge. In the meantime, if old concepts should be discarded — as 
sometimes happens in over-enthusiastic adoption of new theories — more will 
have been lost than one can hope to gain. All the same, fresh ways of looking 
at familiar themes can be revealing. The new approach points to some older 
investigations that have moved into blind alleys, whereas some paths hitherto 
rejected as too stony might be developed into broad highways. At the very 
least, utilization of new models — not ten or twenty years after they have passed 
in the general community, but while they still represent the cutting edge of 
scholarly discourse — can move Ukrainian studies toward the dynamic centre of 
Western social science. 


1. John A. Armstrong, Ukrainian Nationalism, 2d ed. (New York: Columbia 
University Press, 1963) 3rd ed. (Englewood: Ukrainian Academic Press, 1990); 
and “Collaborationism in World War II: The Integral Nationalist Variant in 
Eastern Europe,” Journal of Modem History XL (1968): 396-410. 

2. Friedrich Meinecke, Cosmopolitanism and the National State (Princeton, 1970); 
Carlton J. H. Hayes, Essays on Nationalism (New York, 1933). 

3. The tendency to accept ethnic (primarily linguistic) identity as “primordial” 
continues to influence such major analyses as Arend Lijphart, Democracy in 
Plural Societies (New Haven, 1977), 17ff. 

4. Boris Lewytzkyj, Die Sowjetukraine, 1944-1963 (Cologne, 1964); Yaroslav 
Bilinsky, The Second Soviet Republic (New Brunswick, N.J., 1964); Jurij Borys, 
The Russian Communist Party and the Sovietization of Ukraine (Stockholm, 
1960), revised ed.. The Sovietization of Ukraine 1917-1923 (Edmonton, 1980). 

5. John A. Armstrong, The European Administrative Elite (Princeton, 1973), 43. 

6. See my remarks in “Development Theory: Taking the Historical Cure,” Studies in 
Comparative Communism VII (1974): 217ff. 

7. Karl W. Deutsch, Nationalism and Social Communication (Cambridge, 1963). 


John A. Armstrong 

8. Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (New York, 1973), 127. 

9. Ukrainian Nationalism, 7. Neither at the time this book was first published nor at 
present have I contended that Hrushevsky’s writing had a greater impact on 
Ukrainians than did the works of Shevchenko. What I do contend is that 
Hrushevsky’s systematic argument was essential, in the nineteenth-century 
intellectual context, for legitimizing the Ukrainian identity myth (especially the 
Khmelnytsky component) as a national constitutive myth capable of contending 
with other contemporary national myths. 

10. Mykhailo Hrushevsky, Istoriia Ukrainy-Rusy, 10 vols. (New York, 1954-8). 

11. Claude Levi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology (New York, 1963), 216-17. 

12. Claude Levi-Strauss, The Savage Mind (Chicago, 1966), 254. 

13. V. O. Kliuchevsky, A History of Russia, 5 vols. (New York, 1911-31). 

14. Eric Dardel, “The Mythic: According to the Ethnological Works of Maurice 
Leenhardt,” Diogenes, no. 7 (1954): 38. 

15. Travaux et Memoir es de TUniversite de Lille, Nouvelle Serie, Droit et Lettres, 
no. 20, 1938. 

16. This analogy is elaborated in my book. Nations before Nationalism (Chapel Hill, 
1982), Chapter 8. 

17. See especially Andrij Moskalenko, Khmelnytskyi and the Treaty of Pereyaslav in 
Soviet Historiography (New York, 1955, mimeo.) 

18. A. Baraboi, “K voprosu o prichinakh prisoedineniia Ukrainy k Rossii v 1654 
godu,” Marksist-Leninist II (1939): 87-1 11. 

19. Gunther Stokl, Die Entstehung des Kosakentums (Munich, 1953). 

20. I treat the subject at length in Nations before Nationalism, Chapter 3. 

21. Paris, 1979. 

22. Ukrainian Nationalism, Chapter 8; Friedrich Heyer, Die orthodoxe Kirche in der 
Ukraine von 1917 bis 1945 (Cologne, 1953). 

23. Andre Varagnac, Civilisation traditionelle et genres de vie (Paris, 1948), 57. 

24. A. I. Kholmogorov, Internatsionalnye cherty sovetskikh natsii (Moscow, 1970), 

25. Bruno Schier, Hauslandschaften und Kulturbewegungen im ostlichen Mittel- 
europa (Gottingen, 1966). 

26. David E. Sopher, “Place and Location,” Louis Schneider and Charles M. Gonjean, 
ed.. The Idea of Culture in the Social Sciences (Cambridge, 1973), 107-8. 

27. Karl Vossler, Aus der romanischen Welt (Karlsruhe, 1948), 88. 

28. 26 vols., Kiev, 1968-74. 

29. Max Weinrich, “The Reality of Jewishness versus the Ghetto Myth: The Socio- 
linguistic Roots of Yiddish,” in To Honor Roman Jakobson, III (The Hague, 
1967), 2199ff. 

30. Martel, 45. 

31. See the interesting observations (based on recent interviews) in S. Enders 
Wimbush and Alex Alexiev, The Ethnic Factor in the Soviet Armed Forces: 

Myth and History in Ukrainian Consciousness 


Preliminary Findings (Santa Monica, 1980), 24-5. 

32. W. P. Robinson, “Restricted Codes in Socio-Linguistics and the Sociology of 
Education,” in W. H. Whiteley, ed., Language Use and Social Change (Oxford, 
1971), 90ff. 

John S. Reshetar, Jr. 

Ukrainian and Russian Perceptions of the 
Ukrainian Revolution 

The sudden onset of any revolution usually finds its principal actors unaware 
and unprepared. The complete breakdown of established relationships and pre- 
vailing values necessitates a basic reorientation in outlook and attitudes that is 
difficult to accomplish and that usually requires time. The total dissolution of 
old bonds and forms that results from the revolutionary situation requires a 
restructuring of relationships, institutions and patterns of political authority. In 
its most extreme form in a fully consummated revolution, the first are last and 
the last become first in a total reversal of roles. 

However, revolutions also result in chaotic conditions and in outcomes that 
may not be clear and complete for some time. A revolution may lead to 
profound changes and may release new social and political forces without 
bringing about a complete reversal of roles between oppressor and oppressed. 
Thus the Ukrainian Revolution did not achieve the goal of independent 
statehood for Ukraine, although a species of surrogate statehood was achieved 
in the form of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. A fully consummated revolution 
does not permit restoration of the old order and, instead, presumably establishes 
totally new attitudes and relationships. However, the forces of restoration in the 
Russian Revolution assumed various forms and sought to nullify the Ukrainian 
Revolution and to restore as far as possible the status quo ante in the Ukrainian- 
Russian relationship. The Ukrainian Revolution did not result in a basic re- 
ordering of the relationship between Ukrainians and Russians, although certain 
changes can be said to have occurred. 

A total restructuring of the relationship would have required Russian aban- 
donment of imperial claims and a willingness to relinquish hegemony. It would 
have meant giving up political centralism and the implied invidious distinction 
between “greater” and “lesser” peoples. Such a restructuring would also have 
required a more intense and more sustained commitment on the part of a larger 
portion of the Ukrainian population. 

Ukrainian perceptions of the revolution changed with relative rapidity as a 
result of changing circumstances. As the Russian response to the Ukrainian 
Revolution became clearer, the goals of the revolution changed. In general, 
Ukrainian perceptions must be understood in terms of the conditions in which 
the national movement developed and the policies of imperial Russia that 
nourished it and enabled it to gain appeal. More than two and a half centuries 

Perceptions of the Ukrainian Revolution 


of Russian influence (initially) and subsequent direct rule over Eastern Ukraine 
had a demoralizing effect on the Ukrainians as well as providing a basis for 
mass rejection of Russian rule. The entire train of events since the Treaty of 
Pereiaslav (1654) provided the grievances that led to the Revolution: the 
increased presence of arrogant Russian officials and the violation of Ukrainian 
rights under the treaty; the Moscow Patriarch’s arrogation of the rights of the 
Ukrainian Orthodox Church in 1686 (which church had enjoyed de facto 
autocephaly with nominal ties to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constanti- 
nople); the Battle of Poltava (1709) and the defeat of Hetman Ivan Mazepa; the 
introduction of serfdom into Ukraine by Catherine II; the dissolution of the 
Zaporozhian Sich in 1775; the Valuev decree and the Ems ukase, which placed 
severe limitations on the use of the Ukrainian language and sought to prevent 
its development as a literary language and as a medium of public 

The repressive conditions imposed upon Ukrainians by the tsarist regime 
during World War I led to an inevitable reaction with the regime’s collapse. In 
1914 publications in the Ukrainian language were banned, including the Kiev 
daily, Rada (despite its support of the Russian war effort); the editor of 
Ukrainska khata, Pavlo Bohatsky, was exiled to Siberia; and Olena Pchilka’s 
Poltava weekly, Ridnyi krai, was also banned. The Prosvita societies were 
banned. Professor Mykhailo Hrushevsky was arrested and exiled from Ukraine. 
The Russian military occupation of Lviv and Chemivtsi led to the arrest and 
exile of Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky and many other prominent Galician 
Ukrainians and the banning of numerous Ukrainian-language publications, in- 
cluding the Shevchenko Scientific Society’s Literaturno-naukovyi vistnyk. Thus 
not a single Ukrainian-language newspaper remained on Ukrainian territory. 1 
The wartime situation gave the reactionary Russian Black Hundreds the 
opportunity to disseminate the crudest kind of Ukrainophobia, which not only 
found an audience among unthinking Russians but also made many Ukrainians 
more nationally conscious and aware of their country’s plight and the need to 
oppose such calumny. 

Ukrainian Perceptions 

Initially, in the heady and euphoric atmosphere that ensued from the collapse 
of the Russian monarchy and the Empire, Ukrainians could only perceive their 
own revolution as an integral part of the Russian Revolution. Thus they sought 
an accommodation with the Russian Provisional Government which had 
emerged from the Duma. The Ukrainian community in Petrograd, led by the 
Society of Ukrainian Progressives ( Tovarystvo ukrainskykh postupovtsiv, TUP) 
branch in the Russian capital, addressed an aide-memoire to the Provisional 
Government in which it requested the latter to: appoint Ukrainians to official 
posts in Ukraine; establish the post of commissar for Ukrainian affairs in the 


John S. Reshetar, Jr. 

Provisional Government; introduce the use of the Ukrainian language in the 
courts and schools; establish Ukrainian studies courses in colleges and 
universities; authorize use of the Ukrainian language in the Orthodox Church in 
sermons and other matters; and rescind the Russian Orthodox Church admin- 
istration that had been imposed on the Ukrainian Catholics in Eastern Galicia 
during the war. 2 The release of incarcerated Galician and Bukovynian 
Ukrainians was also demanded. These were very modest demands that did re- 
sult in initial concessions and in the release of Professor Hrushevsky, 
Metropolitan Sheptytsky and others. 

The emergence of the Ukrainian Central Rada (Council) in Kiev, under the 
presidency of Professor Hrushevsky, meant the establishment of a de facto 
Ukrainian government with the formation of the Rada’s General Secretariat. 
However, disagreement soon developed as the Rada sought to broaden 
Ukrainian autonomy and the Provisional Government sought to limit it. 3 The 
leaders of the Rada evinced both hesitancy and determination according to cir- 
cumstances. Thus they assumed the initiative and issued the Rada’s First 
Universal of 10 (23) June 1917 in which they reaffirmed the demand for 
autonomy and protested the Provisional Government’s refusal to accept accre- 
ditation of a commissar for Ukrainian affairs to represent the Rada in 
Petrograd, as well as its unwillingness to provide treasury funds to the Rada for 
“national-cultural needs” and to designate a single official of the Provisional 
Government as its sole representative in Ukraine (who was to be chosen by the 

The Rada’s decision to form the General Secretariat resulted from the 
Provisional Government’s intransigence, its unwillingness to take any positive 
action, and its deferring all important questions to the All-Russian Constituent 
Assembly. However, the Provisional Government did accept the Rada’s Second 
Universal, adopted on 3 (16) July 1917, but then sought to reduce its effect by 
issuing its own so-called “Instruction” of 4 (17) August 1917 that attempted to 
limit the Rada’s jurisdiction and authority. Although the Rada, whose member- 
ship was now more than 800 with the inclusion of non-Ukrainian members, 
officially accepted the “Instruction,” the tensions between Kiev and Petrograd 

If the Rada manifested a degree of moderation during the summer of 1917, it 
was due to the fact that at the time it lacked the necessary financial and military 
support. Thus it did not have the power to tax and had to rely on contributions. 
Although it was able to organize some military units in a rapidly deteriorating 
military situation, the Russian forces in the Kiev garrison supported the 
Provisional Government. Thus if the Rada had proclaimed Ukrainian inde- 
pendence, instead of autonomy, in the First or Second Universal, such an act 
would probably have precipitated a crisis involving the use of armed force and 
dissolution of the Rada. The Rada’s self-restraint was also prompted by the 
presence of non-Ukrainian members who constituted approximately one-quarter 

Perceptions of the Ukrainian Revolution 


of the membership and were not supportive of Ukrainian independence. 4 

While accepting an autonomous status for Ukraine that was ill-defined, the 
Rada even in its First Universal held out the prospect of ultimate independence: 
“Ukrainian People! Your fate lies in your own hands. In this difficult time of 
universal disorder and ruin, prove by your unity and your statesmanship that 
you, a nation of workers, a nation of tillers of the soil, can proudly and with 
dignity take your place beside any organized nation-state, as an equal among 
equals.” 5 Thus there was implied, in the above statement and in the assertion 
“we shall build our life,” a commitment to popular sovereignty and national 
equality including independence. 

Yet the hesitancy to sever the tie with revolutionary Russia is evident even 
in the Rada’s Third and Fourth Universal. The Third Universal of 7 (20) 
November 1917 was prompted by the collapse of the Provisional Government 
and proclaimed the establishment of the Ukrainian People’s Republic ( Ukrain - 
ska Narodnia Respublika, UNR). However, it also asserted: “Without sepa- 
rating ourselves from the Russian Republic and maintaining its unity, we shall 
stand firmly on our soil, in order that our strength may aid all of Russia, so that 
the whole Russian Republic may become a federation of equal and free 
peoples.” 6 The Third Universal foresaw both Ukrainian and All-Russian 
Constituent Assemblies and the “great fraternal construction of new govern- 
mental forms which will grant the great and weakened Republic of Russia 
health, strength and a new future.” Even the Fourth Universal of 9 (22) January 
1918, which proclaimed Ukrainian independence, did not rule out the 
possibility of “federative ties with the people’s republics of the former Russian 
state.” 7 

The Rada’s reluctance to sever the tie with revolutionary Russia until 
Lenin’s seizure of power can be attributed to the general belief in “Russian 
democracy,” i.e., in the liberal and democratic forces that were thought to be 
present in Russia. It was hoped that these forces would actually reverse the pat- 
tern of national discrimination and inequality that had characterized the Russian 
Empire. This faith in the emergence of a new Russia remained unfulfilled and 
was to be dissipated in the painful and bitter experience of Ukrainians as a re- 
sult of the “new” forms that Russian political life was assuming. The blind urge 
to re-establish the tie with Russia was seen in the conduct of two diametrically 
opposed Ukrainian political leaders of the revolutionary period — Hetman Pavlo 
Skoropadsky and the head of the Directory, Volodymyr Vynnychenko. 

Skoropadsky proclaimed a federation of the Ukrainian State with Russia on 
14 November 1918 as his German-sponsored regime faced collapse at the close 
of World War I. Although this act may have been designed to win support from 
the Entente powers, it only served to discredit Skoropadsky and fuel the fires of 
the nationalist Ukrainian revolt that was being organized in Bila Tserkva by the 
Directory of the restored Ukrainian People’s Republic. 


John S. Reshetar, Jr. 

Vynnychenko, always more the literary author moved by emotion than the 
tested political leader, saw in Russian Bolshevism a potential ally that, in 
theory at least, “employed coercion and inequality in order to establish equality 
and destroy all coercion.” 8 Indeed, he came to the remarkable conclusion that 
the armed conflict between Lenin’s Soviet Russian government and the 
Ukrainian People’s Republic in December 1917 and January 1918 arose as a re- 
sult of the latter’s failings and incorrect policies. 9 When the Hetmanate of 
General Skoropadsky was being overthrown in November 1918, Vynnychenko, 
as head of the Directory, entered into an agreement with Lenin’s emissaries in 
Kiev (Christian Rakovsky and Dmytro Manuilsky) to coordinate efforts in the 
uprising and also promised to have the Directory legalize the Communist Party 
in Ukraine. 10 Vynnychenko also spent the summer of 1920 in Moscow and 
visited the then Soviet Ukrainian capital of Kharkiv twice in a vain attempt to 
come to terms with Lenin and the Ukrainian communist regime. 11 

Others abandoned their faith in “Russian democracy” much earlier. For 
Professor Hrushevsky, writing near Sarny on 4 February 1918 during the eva- 
cuation from Kiev, the “old Muscovite centralism” had re-emerged “under the 
mask of Bolshevism.” 12 Hrushevsky noted that the “orientation on Muscovy, on 
Russia” had ceased to exist, having been “burned in my study” — a reference to 
the deliberate and wanton shelling of Hrushevsky ’s home in Kiev and the 
burning of his study by Soviet Russian forces that invaded Ukraine under the 
command of Muravev in January 19 18. 13 In a historiosophical statement 
Hrushevsky observed: 

Great causes are born amidst great pain. All the current strivings of the leading 
Ukrainian politicians — that the birth of the new life would occur without pain, 
without acute disruptions, without bloody conflicts — were in vain. Our Ukrainian 
Revolution unfortunately did not develop independently but had always to march 
with the convulsive movements and the casting about of the Russian Revolution, 
chaotic and frightening. The Russian Revolution drew us through blood, through 
ruin and through fire . 14 

Yet Hrushevsky, while depicting the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a fratri- 
cidal act, also expressed the view that Ukraine was not only for Ukrainians but 
included other peoples who wished to contribute to its well-being. 

Of the various Ukrainian leaders, Symon Petliura probably had fewer il- 
lusions regarding the Russians, for he had resided in Moscow, where he edited 
the Russian-language journal, JJkrainskaia zhizn (Ukrainian Life), that was de- 
signed to inform the Russian public of Ukrainian conditions and also acquaint it 
with Ukrainian aspirations. Viewing the revolution in retrospect, Petliura (in a 
letter written to General Mykola Udovychenko in 1922) offered the following 

I observed that the Ukrainian parties possess revolutionary force, some of them 
disruptive, but do not possess creative organizational strength. I observed that 

Perceptions of the Ukrainian Revolution 


they did not perceive what was most important : whether Ukraine as an in- 
dependent state should in its foreign policy orient itself on Europe or on Moscow- 
Asia. It became clear that the Asiatic heritage among us is still too strong: the 
SRs, part of the SDs (Vynnychenko) gave pre-eminence to Moscow, not to 
Europe. It was necessary to base ourselves on Europe, which, as a matter of fact, 
did not know us and did not understand us, while at the same time it was neces- 
sary to develop our own strength. The sooner the sense of independence from 
Moscow crystallizes itself among our people, the sooner we will have an 
independent Ukraine . 15 

For Petliura independent Ukrainian statehood was the paramount value, and 
it is not surprising that among the Ukrainian leaders it was he who persisted 
steadfastly in waging the armed struggle in the face of unfavourable odds. 
Petliura can be likened to Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, who placed Poland’s 
national independence above his commitment to socialism. Although Petliura 
was at least nominally a social democrat, he might also be compared with the 
Finnish social democrat Vai'no Tanner, for whom, it has been said, “nothing 
good ever came out of Russia, except for the chaotic conditions of 1917, which 
made Finland’s independence possible.” 16 Yet one cannot find any overt ex- 
pressions of Russophobia in Petliura’ s writings, whether in Ukraine or as an 
emigre, although for him the enemy was “Moscow” or “Bolshevism” or simply 
an unnamed “enemy.” In contrast to Petliura, other prominent Ukrainian leaders 
withdrew from the armed struggle and went into exile. 17 

The disagreements among the Ukrainian leaders occurred in conditions that 
would have severely tested the mettle of more experienced men. Left alone by 
its neighbors and permitted to develop its own future, the Ukrainian People’s 
Republic would probably have emerged as a viable political entity despite the 
differing views of its leaders. However, the Central Rada and the idea of 
Ukrainian independent statehood were opposed by the Russians in Kiev, who 
initially supported the Provisional Government. With the collapse of the 
Provisional Government, the Bolsheviks and the Kiev Soviet challenged the 
Rada by means of a general strike which was precipitated by the Rada’s 
disarming of pro-Bolshevik military units. 18 However, the Bolshevik strategy 
was to combine an uprising in the Ukrainian capital with an armed invasion 
from the north. Although the Rada’s forces did suppress the uprising in Kiev, 
they were unable to cope with the four military groups of the Bolshevik 
invasion force, which had 30,000 troops, 60 pieces of artillery and ten 
armoured trains. 19 

The relatively brief Bolshevik occupation of Kiev in 1918 established the 
pattern of resolving the issues of the revolution by force of arms, with 
propaganda appeals playing a secondary, though very important, role. The 
Ukrainian leaders were at a disadvantage in having to move from what was es- 
sentially an apolitical cultural nationalism to positions of autonomy and 
federalism and, finally, independent statehood in a matter of one year. The need 


John S. Reshetar, Jr. 

for such a rapid reorientation inevitably produced some uncertainty and 

Among the basic cleavages that defined the various Ukrainian perceptions of 
the revolution was the desire to be “socialist” — though in varying 
degrees — and the fear of some that they were not sufficiently “socialist.” Thus 
Professor Hrushevsky thought it advisable to join the youthful Ukrainian 
Socialist Revolutionaries, although he was far removed from them in age, 
experience, temperament and outlook. Yet the most fundamental cleavage in 
perception of the revolution was probably best illustrated in the respective posi- 
tions of Vynnychenko and Petliura. Vynnychenko became increasingly radical 
and doctrinaire as the revolution progressed. In December 1918 and January 
1919 he moved closer to a national-communist position in advocating the 
establishment of a soviet ( radianska ) system in Ukraine. Vynnychenko reason- 
ed that his strategy would nullify the effectiveness of the “social slogans” being 
used by the Bolsheviks and would compel the latter to confront the Directory 
Government “only as Russian nationalists” offering Ukrainians Russian soviet 
rule, which supposedly would be rejected in favour of Ukrainian soviet rule. 
Vynnychenko, in subsequently justifying his position, contended that “it should 
have been clear to any more or less far-sighted politician that the logical devel- 
opment of the movement will lead to Bolshevism and that in the interests of 
Ukrainian statehood it was necessary not to release the initiative from one’s 
hands and to assure in advance the Ukrainian character of that [Bolshevik] 
regime ( vlada ) which must inevitably come.” 20 

When this position proved unacceptable to the Ukrainian military leaders 
(who argued that workers’ soviets or councils would assure the dominance of 
the non-Ukrainian urban elements), Vynnychenko proposed a system of toilers’ 
councils ( systema trudovykh rad) that would have given dominant representa- 
tion to the Ukrainian peasantry. For Vynnychenko, who advocated a “multi- 
faceted liberation,” the struggle against the bourgeoisie, which was largely non- 
Ukrainian, took precedence over the achievement of national statehood or 
would in the end, if given precedence, actually assure national statehood. 21 

Vynnychenko’ s Marxism and atheism contrasted with Petliura’ s advocacy of 
parliamentarism and commitment to more traditional Ukrainian values. Thus 
Vynnychenko disliked the Orthodox clergy and objected to their participation 
in public exercises under the Rada and the Directory, while Petliura advocated 
an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church with its own patriarch in Kiev. 22 
Although Petliura was also a social democrat and supported the various social 
and economic goals of the revolution, he gave primacy to the goal of inde- 
pendent national statehood. For Vynnychenko, all goals were to be pursued si- 
multaneously and with the achievement of the socio-economic revolution 
national independence would presumably be assured. 

The major Ukrainian parties of the revolutionary period had difficulty 
overcoming their past, because in the pre-revolutionary period they were “for 

Perceptions of the Ukrainian Revolution 


the most part copies or simply affiliates of the Russian parties.” 23 Fearing 
accusations of “chauvinism” initially and believing in the “magnanimity of 
Russian democracy,” the parties imposed restraints upon themselves that in the 
end were detrimental to the national cause. 24 The most popular party was that of 
the Ukrainian Socialist Revolutionaries, who attracted subsequent peasant sup- 
port by recognizing individual farming despite their advocacy of socialization 
of the land. The Ukrainian SRs, together with the Social Democrats, obtained a 
clear majority of the vote in Ukraine in the elections to the All-Russian 
Constituent Assembly in November 1917, pre-empting the claims of the 
Russian SRs and demonstrating that there was a popular (largely peasant) 
ethnic base for the Ukrainian Revolution. 25 

The Social Democrats had more articulate intellectuals in their leadership, 
while the SRs had closer ties to the Ukrainian peasantry. Efforts at establishing 
a viable coalition of the two parties proved unsuccessful. The SRs, who had 
dominated the Central Rada, tended to lose support as a result of their being 
associated with the arrival of Austrian and German occupation forces in 
February 1918. Both parties were in agreement in their opposition to the 
Hetmanate of General Skoropadsky, but the Directory Government that suc- 
ceeded it was led by the Social Democrats. 

The disagreements that existed between the Ukrainian parties —as well as 
their quarrels with the communists (both Russian and Ukrainian) — issued from 
the question of the extent to which the Ukrainian Revolution was a part of the 
Russian Revolution. Thus such issues as the class struggle, the agrarian prob- 
lem (the peasant hunger for land), the growing anarchy, and the nature of the 
(non) Ukrainian city with its frequently inimical or indifferent alien elements, 
served to distract the Ukrainian parties from fully consummating the achieve- 
ment of national statehood. The fact that Ukraine in 1919 was invaded by 
Russian Bolshevik forces and by General Denikin’s Russian (White Guard) 
Volunteer Army and was also the object of an ineffective French military 
intervention — in addition to the invasion of Eastern Galicia by Polish forces — 
could only complicate perception of the revolution and the effort to answer 
such questions as: who is a friend and who is a foe and who might be a worthy 
ally and a source of external support. 

These circumstances produced divisions in both major Ukrainian parties as 
left wings developed and sought an accommodation with Ukrainian commu- 
nism. Thus left Social Democrats formed the independent Ukrainian 
Communist Party (UKP) and attempted to pursue a national-communist course 
while left SRs (the Borotbisty) were ultimately to accept absorption (and worse) 
into the Russian-sponsored Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine. The 
splintering and resultant diffusion of the revolutionary cause inevitably led to 
mutual recriminations. 

There was the frequently expressed charge that the Rada as well as the 
Directory was tardy in addressing socio-economic issues, especially that of land 


John S. Reshetar, Jr. 

reform. 26 The disagreement prompted by Vynnychenko’s attempts at a fellow- 
traveller role in conjunction with his “mission to Moscow” resulted in his 
employing bitter personal attacks on Petliura, to which the latter did not 
respond in kind. 

The Galician Ukrainians, who had proclaimed a Western Ukrainian Republic 
and were defending themselves against an invasion by Polish forces seeking to 
annex Western Ukraine, sought aid from the Directory and could not participate 
initially in its military efforts against the Russian Bolsheviks.* Following the 
Polish military occupation of Eastern Galicia and the retreat of the West 
Ukrainian Army across the Zbruch River into Central Ukraine, the Galician 
forces concluded an agreement with Denikin’s army in November 1919 after 
experiencing untold suffering and deprivation in the “quadrangle of death.”f 

The Western Ukrainian Republic had entered into an act of union with the 
Directory and the Ukrainian People’s Republic in January 1919. Apart from the 
ideal and principle of sobomist, for the Galician Ukrainians this union was 
prompted by the practical consideration of obtaining such weapons and supplies 
as the Directory could make available. Yet the Western Ukrainian leadership 
was uneasy regarding the union with the Eastern Ukrainian doctrinaire socialist 
intelligentsia that formed the Directory Government. 27 The more disciplined 
and orderly Galician Ukrainians, having been trained in Austrian parliamen- 
tarism and accustomed to a constitutional order, rejected socialist panaceas. 
They feared being drawn into the maelstrom of the social revolution and were 
concerned lest the disorders that were so prevalent in Central and Eastern 
Ukraine spill over into Western Ukraine. The principal Western Ukrainian 
negotiator with the Directory and the principal author of the text of the Act of 
Union, Dr. Lonhyn Tsehelsky, was shocked by the excesses of the rabble 
(, holota ) that occurred following the overthrow of the Hetmanate. He was also 
shocked by the arbitrariness and lack of discipline that characterized the ota- 
manshchyna — rule by insubordinate local military commanders or chieftains. 28 
In his view the Directory, in appealing for the overthrow of the Hetmanate, 
fostered the conditions that led to its own defeat and resulted in the 
sovietization of Ukraine. Thus the leaders of the two Ukrainian republics 
viewed the revolution very differently. 

* The Sich Sharpshooter units, consisting of Galician Ukrainians, played an important 
role in overthrowing Hetman Skoropadsky and were among the Directory’s most 
reliable military units. 

f When the Western Ukrainian Army, as a result of desperation and disease, concluded 
its accommodation with Denikin’s Army, Petliura regarded it as an act of betrayal. 
Similarly, when Petliura concluded the treaty of 21 April 1920 with Poland, recognizing 
the Polish acquisition of Eastern Galicia, the Western Ukrainian leaders regarded it as a 
betrayal of their cause. 

Perceptions of the Ukrainian Revolution 


The issue of the class struggle, as advocated by the socialists, versus the 
struggle for national liberation not only served to distinguish perceptions but 
also dissipated the energies and efforts of the various Ukrainian leaders and 
parties. Yet whatever the disagreements, there was a consensus among them 
regarding the need to restore Ukrainian national rights and to assert Ukrainian 
ethnic distinctiveness and a separate identity. Irrespective of their differences, 
all sought to obtain recognition and equality for the Ukrainian language and to 
assure education at all levels in their language. It was this shared perception of 
the revolution and the consensus regarding recognition of national rights that in 
the end proved to have the greatest impact on subsequent events. 

Russian Perceptions 

Most Russians perceived the Ukrainian Revolution either as something 
unreal, without substance or meaning, or as an undesirable temporary con- 
sequence of the Russian Revolution. Accustomed, as a result of the imperial 
system, to regarding Ukraine as “Little Russia,” the “South,” “South Russia” or 
the “Southwestern Region,” Russians were now compelled to cope with the 
growing claims of a national movement that they had traditionally ignored or 
ruthlessly suppressed whenever it manifested itself in quasi-political forms. 

Ukrainophobia was not common to all Russians. Thus the recognition of 
Ukrainian as a language separate from Russian by the Imperial Academy of 
Sciences was, to a significant degree, due to the efforts of Fedor Korsh and 
Aleksei Shakhmatov. 29 Yet such quasi-official recognition in the aftermath of 
the 1905 Revolution, with its limited freedom of the press, could not rectify the 
effects of the policy of discrimination that had persisted for so many decades. 
There was also the effort of Bishop Nikon Bezsonov (himself a Russian and 
auxiliary bishop of Volhynia) as a deputy in the Fourth Duma to introduce the 
Ukrainian language into the schools of Ukraine. In response, Russian eccle- 
siastical authorities transferred the bishop to Krasnoiarsk in Siberia in order to 
hamper his role as a deputy. 30 

Official policy encouraged the popular stereotypical view of the Ukrainian 
language as a dialect ( narechie ) and of Ukrainian culture as rustic and peasant- 
bound. Ukrainophilism, cultural in nature, was ridiculed and regarded as 
doomed. Any interest in restoring Ukrainian political rights — lost as a result of 
Russian violations of the terms of the Treaty of Pereiaslav — or in seeking any 
aid from abroad for the defence of cultural rights (including aid from Western 
Ukraine under Austrian rule) was branded as Mazepinstvo and equated with 
treason. The figure of Hetman Ivan Mazepa was used to symbolize and 
condemn “separatism” and secession of Ukraine from Russia. The Russian 
Orthodox Church, which professed to minister to the spiritual needs of 
Ukrainians, anathematized Mazepa annually on the first Sunday of the Great 
Lent in a ceremony rendered ironic by the fact that Mazepa, as a philanthropist, 


John S. Reshetar, Jr. 

had built a number of Ukrainian Baroque churches. 

The figure of Taras Shevchenko, whose poetry symbolized the perseverance 
and enrichment of the Ukrainian language as well as antipathy to Russian rule, 
was regarded with disdain in official circles and with an apparent fear that 
bordered on the pathological. 31 For it is only in such terms that one can explain 
the February 1914 ban by the Russian ministry of the interior on public 
observances commemorating the centenary of Shevchenko’s birth. 32 

Although such Russian critics as Chemyshevsky and Herzen recognized 
Shevchenko’s talent, the prevalence of the official view reflected a desire to 
suppress the Ukrainian language, culture and the press and to regard such a 
situation as “normal.” The policy of systematically denigrating everything 
Ukrainian as allegedly “inferior” to what was Russian was rationalized in terms 
of a cultural Darwinism that justified the struggle of two cultures in which the 
supposedly less worthy culture and language should be expected to perish. In 
the eyes of the advocates of this policy, suppression of Ukrainian culture provi- 
ded “proof’ that what was being suppressed did not really exist nor could it 

It was with the burden of such a past that the Russian Provisional 
Government perceived the Ukrainian Revolution. Although the Provisional 
Government offered the Poles an independent state on 16 (29) March 
1917 — subject to approval by the All-Russian Constituent Assembly — it appar- 
ently regarded Ukrainian claims as being of secondary or tertiary importance at 
best or as a nuisance or annoyance that would likely go away if ignored or 
neglected. Indicative of the Provisional Government’s general attitude was its 
refusal to grant Finland independence and its decision to dissolve the Finnish 
parliament when the latter asserted its authority in July 1917 and claimed 
sovereignty in all matters other than foreign policy and military legislation and 
administration. The Provisional Government contended that it alone had 
acquired the powers of the defunct Russian monarchy, while the Finnish Social 
Democrats, who constituted a majority in the dissolved parliament, contended 
that the Finnish legislature had rightfully assumed authority. 33 

When a similar conflict developed between the Provisional Government and 
the Ukrainian Central Rada, the former contended that only the All-Russian 
Constituent Assembly could determine the extent and nature of Ukrainian 
autonomy. 34 Although the supposed supreme authority of the yet to be elected 
All-Russian Constituent Assembly was a convenient device for justifying delay 
and for rationalizing the status quo, the impelling nature of revolutionary devel- 
opments made such a policy increasingly untenable. The Provisional Govern- 
ment’s refusal to recognize the right of national self-determination (except for 
the Poles) and its reliance on the Constituent Assembly posed the basic ques- 
tion of what kind of veto the Assembly would have over Ukrainian rights. If 
the membership of the Constituent Assembly were to reflect the ethnic 
composition of the Empire, the Russians would themselves be a minority in 

Perceptions of the Ukrainian Revolution 


that body. 

From the Ukrainian point of view the basic question was: who shall have the 
moral, legal and political authority to decide the future of the Ukrainian 
people? Between July and September 1917 the Rada was demanding 
convocation of a Ukrainian Constituent Assembly. For the Russians this raised 
the question of the respective jurisdictions of the two constituent assemblies 
and the issue of whether the All-Russian Constituent Assembly would have a 
veto over the actions of the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly. However, the 
issue could not be resolved because time was running out on the Provisional 
Government. It is indicative of that government’s lack of foresight and its in- 
ability to define priorities that in the last days of its existence it ordered 
Vynnychenko and two other members of the Rada’s General Secretariat to 
Petrograd “for personal explanations with regard to reports on agitation in 
Ukraine in favour of convoking a sovereign Constituent Assembly.” 35 Thus 
what the Russians permitted themselves— a sovereign constituent assembly— 
they were unwilling to permit the Ukrainians. When Vynnychenko and his 
colleagues arrived in Petrograd the Provisional Government was no longer in 
existence. A Russian Provisional Government that was incapable of defending 
itself against its Russian opponents was nevertheless prepared to pursue a firm 
policy against the Rada. 

For the Russians the very existence of the Rada brought the specter of 
Ukrainian “separatism” too close to realization and posed a threat to the notion 
of a “Russia” that was “one and indivisible.” The suspiciousness and 
intransigence of the Provisional Government and its successors reflected a com- 
plex of attitudes, prejudices and claims regarding Ukraine that Russians had 
acquired as a result of their dominant position in the imperial system. Only 
some of the more salient components of this Russian mind-set can be discussed 
within the confines of this article. 

The teaching of history in terms that justified the imperial system and the 
subjugation of other peoples by the Russians had resulted in what can only be 
termed an obsession with Kiev and a claim to the Kievan Rus’ state. By 
arrogating to themselves the Kievan heritage rather than being content with the 
very respectable and contemporaneous Novgorod heritage, Russians asserted a 
claim to Ukraine which they were then unwilling to abandon. For the imperial 
syndrome — which transcended the tsarist order — Ukraine came to be regarded 
as a pivotal region rivalled only by Siberia or Central Asia as the Empire’s 
most valuable possession. Ukraine’s strategic value enabled Russia to exert 
pressure on Poland, Hungary and the Danubian Basin, and the Balkans and also 
provided access to the Crimea. Thus Russia’s claim to empire would be signifi- 
cantly reduced without Ukraine. 

By claiming the Ukrainians as “Little Russians” or by insisting on the 
cultural closeness of Ukrainians to Russians, Russians were able to give them- 
selves (actually the Eastern Slavs) a substantial majority of the empire’s (Soviet 


John S. Reshetar, Jr. 

Union’s) population. Thus the Ukrainians have played a crucial, though 
substantially involuntary, role in the demographic basis for Russia’s claim to 
empire. The alleged cultural closeness of Ukrainians to Russians was based on 
the Russian refusal to recognize the Ukrainian language as more than a 
“dialect” or “variant” of the Russian language. Russians would also point to 
their claim to such historical figures as Bortniansky, Gogol and Feofan 
Prokopovych in support of their arguments regarding cultural (historical) ties. 

Russians readily developed affection and attachment to Ukraine, for it is 
always expedient to “love” what you covet. Russians were attracted to the 
Ukrainian landscape, southern warmth and agricultural abundance and were 
charmed by Gogol’s Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka. Having developed an 
attachment to Ukraine, they could not readily divest themselves of it. 

The fact that the majority of Ukrainians were of the Orthodox faith, as were 
the Russians, contributed to the Russians’ taking Ukrainians for granted. Since 
this superficial common identity was promoted by the use of the Church 
Slavonic language for liturgical purposes, it is evident why Russians opposed 
the introduction of contemporary language, whether Russian or Ukrainian, into 
the liturgy. For example, Bishop Parfenii Levytsky of Podillia, who preached in 
Ukrainian and encouraged priests to do so, was transferred to Tula, and other 
Ukrainian bishops who advocated the use of the Ukrainian language were 
punished by what Oleksander Lototsky termed the Russian “synodal-police 
system .” 36 Russians tended to ignore or minimize the unique traditional 
Ukrainian Orthodox religious practices or to eliminate them and impose con- 
formity with Russian practices . 37 

The Russian attitude toward Ukraine was also affected by the phenomenon 
of Malorosiistvo (“Little Russianism”), which preserved some of the distinct- 
iveness of the Ukrainian way of life as well as the language, but acquiesced in 
Russian domination of Ukraine and viewed negatively or with indifference 
Ukrainian efforts to achieve independent statehood (even historically ). 38 Malo- 
rosiistvo cultivated provincialism instead of nationalism and was a consequence 
of Russian rule and a desire to serve and gain personal advantage within the 
imperial system. It was based on the implicit precept “to be lesser is better” and 
represented a willingness to settle for a subordinate status in the perpetual 
shadow of Russia. While nationally conscious Ukrainians condemned the 
Maloros as a renegade (pereverten ), Russians usually saw them as “proof’ that 
Ukrainians were ultimately vulnerable to Russification or could at least be 
confined to perpetual subservience. Influenced by the corrupting nature of 
Malorosiistvo, Russians could ask why more Ukrainians did not emulate the 
notorious Ukrainophobe A. I. Savenko, who proposed that the domes of Kiev’s 
churches be rebuilt in the Russian onion-shaped style . 39 Such figures as M. V. 
Rodzianko, president of the State Duma and M. I. Tereshchenko, the 
Provisional Government’s finance minister and minister of foreign affairs, were 
regarded by Russians as model “Ukrainians” (actually Little Russians). Thus 

Perceptions of the Ukrainian Revolution 


the burden of “Little Russianism” weighed heavily on the Ukrainians, but also 
misled the Russians in the matter of how the mass of Ukrainians really 
perceived them. 

Many Russians apparently believed the myth that the Ukrainian national 
movement was a “German-Austrian creation” designed to “destroy” or at least 
“dismember” Russia. A related myth was that the Ukrainian national movement 
was the work of a limited number of alienated intellectuals who were “enemy 
agents.” That such myths were widespread in Russian society is evident in the 
fact that prior to the revolution the editors of the Russian-language journal 
Ukrainskaia zhizn published three editions of a work entitled Ukrainskii vopros 
(The Ukrainian Question) which was designed to respond to the false charges 
that Ukrainstvo (Ukrainianism) represented “nihilism,” “socialism,” “separa- 
tism,” “Austrophilism,” or Polish or German intrigue. 40 The superficial and 
undiscriminating Russian observer could seize upon the following isolated facts 
in support of these preposterous allegations: Professor Hrushevsky spent the 
years from 1894 to 1913 in Galicia as professor of history at the University of 
Lviv and also headed the Shevchenko Scientific Society and established the 
Literaturno-naukovyi vistnykf Petliura spent the year 1905 in Lviv as a mem- 
ber of the Revolutionary Ukrainian Party; Ukrainian-language publications, in- 
cluding political pamphlets, were printed in Galicia and smuggled into Eastern 
Ukraine. The Union for the Liberation of Ukraine ( Soiuz vyzvolennia Ukrainy ), 
which was established by Eastern Ukrainian emigres in Lviv, had its head- 
quarters in Vienna (it moved to Berlin in 1915) and conducted political 
education programs among Ukrainian prisoners of war held in Germany; it also 
openly sought the downfall of the Russian autocracy. 42 Subsequent events such 
as the recognition of Ukraine by the Central Powers in the Treaty of Brest- 
Litovsk and the German approval of the Hetmanate were also regarded as 
“proof’ of “Austro-German intrigue.” 

The Russians who accepted this canard ignored the fact that Eastern Ukrain- 
ian intellectuals were attracted to Galicia largely because of the relatively free 
conditions that prevailed there under Austrian rule in contrast to the repressive 
measures employed by the tsarist regime against Ukrainians. If Professor 
Hrushevsky could have taught Ukrainian history at the universities of Kiev or 
Kharkiv he would probably not have accepted the position in Lviv. Indeed, the 
question of foreign aid raises parallels: the Muscovite state emerged as a result 
of collaboration with foreign interests (the Mongols), and Bolshevism would 
also qualify as a “German creation,” because the Bolsheviks received financial 
aid from Germany during World War I. 43 If one were to apply the logic of 
Russian Ukrainophobes to Finland, that country would also qualify as a 
“German creation” because of the aid that the Finns received from Germany in 
their struggle for independence in 1918. 

Oleksander Lototsky argued that the “German issue” amounted to a calcu- 
lated attempt by Russian chauvinists to “strangulate Ukrainianism” and 


John S. Reshetar, Jr. 

compromise it, as well as to provide a rationalization for taking measures 
against any Ukrainian bookstore, club or the language itself. According to 
Lototsky, even Ukrainian sausage shops irritated the Russian Black Hundreds 
(the Union of the Russian People). 44 The practice of denigrating everything 
Ukrainian was presumably calculated to reduce or even destroy Ukrainian self- 
confidence, but it also reflected the arrogance, obtuseness, insensitivity and 
self-aggrandizement that characterized much of the Russian minority living in 
Ukraine. Most members of this minority refused to learn the Ukrainian lan- 
guage and were unwilling to accept any changes in their privileged status and 
in the Ukrainian-Russian relationship. Their dominant position in the Ukrainian 
cities had led them to believe that they had a veto over Ukrainian develop- 
ments. Like the Bourbons, they sought neither to learn anything nor to forget 

From the vantage point of the Russian capital, the Central Rada represented 
a threat that went far beyond the potential loss of Ukraine. The Rada saw itself 
as leading the other non-Russian nationalities in the demand for a federal 
democratic order. To this end it organized a Congress of Nationalities which 
met in Kiev from 8-15 (21-28) September 1917 and was attended by 92 
delegates representing Belorussians, Georgians, Jews, Estonians, Latvians, 
Lithuanians, Tatars, Romanians (Moldavians), Buriats and Cossacks. The 
Congress adopted resolutions in support of national-personal autonomy, the 
equality of languages (with no special advantages to the Russian language in 
schools, courts and religious institutions), the right of each nationality to have 
its own constituent assembly, and non-Russian representation at the peace 
conference to be convened at the end of the war. The decision to establish a 
Council of Nationalities, with Hrushevsky as president and its seat in Kiev, 
reflected the hopes of the other non-Russian nationalities that the Rada would 
lead the way to a better future 45 

Federalism as a solution to the nationalities problem was not supported by 
any of the Russian political parties or movements during the revolution. This 
fact, together with the vague promises of autonomy that emanated from the 
Provisional Govenment, confined the positions of the various Russian parties 
and political orientations to a narrow spectrum. The most representative posi- 
tions on this spectrum were those of the Socialist Revolutionaries, the Consti- 
tutional Democrats or Kadets (Party of People’s Freedom), the Denikinite 
Volunteer Army (White Guards), and the Social Democrats. 

The badly divided but temporarily popular Russian Socialist Revolutionary 
(SR) Party was generally as vague and ineffective as its programme in its posi- 
tion on Ukraine and the claims of the other non-Russian nationalities. Although 
the SRs paid lip service to limited national self-determination, many were anti- 
federalist and favoured a centralized republic. Although they were willing to 
grant independence to Poland, they were adamant in opposing Finnish 
independence. At the Third SR Congress in July 1917, Mark Vishniak appeared 

Perceptions of the Ukrainian Revolution 


to favour a broad federation and granting Ukraine separate coinage, its own 
postal system and national military units, but not the right to impose tariffs. 46 
Yet the Congress, while approving Vishniak’s theses “in general,” is said to 
have reflected “an undercurrent of feeling indubitably hostile to the dissolution 
of the imperial entity.” 47 The Russian SRs rejected demands for separate 
constituent assemblies for each non-Russian nationality and, instead, insisted on 
the authority of the All-Russian Constituent Assembly. Under the circumstan- 
ces, the emergence of a separate Ukrainian Socialist Revolutionary Party was 
hardly surprising. 

The Kadets (Constitutional Democrats) supposedly represented the “liberal” 
position, which could be defined as such only in comparison with that of the 
Russian Octobrists, who had opposed Ukrainian autonomy or any concessions 
favoring the development of Ukrainian culture or language equality. The 
Kadets were willing to permit the use of non-Russian languages in the 
elementary schools, favouring autonomy only for Poland, and constantly 
opposed federalism and advocated the “unity of the Russian State.” 48 Although 
Professor Pavel Miliukov opposed the ban on the Shevchenko centenary 
observances in 1914, he also opposed Ukrainian autonomy (as well as Finnish 
independence) in 1917. When the Provisional Government recognized a very 
limited autonomy for Ukraine, six Kadet ministers resigned. When the Rada 
adopted the Third Universal, the Kadet member of the Mala Rada, S. Krupnov, 
resigned in protest. 49 

The most extreme “liberal” position on Ukraine was held by the Kadet Petr 
Struve, whose intolerant views were ultimately rejected even by the Kadet 
leadership. Struve, a former socialist of Baltic German origin, contended in 
1911 that the existence of a separate Ukrainian culture was a threat to the 
emergence of an “all-Russian culture.” He seriously contended that the multi- 
national empire was actually a “national empire.” In 1915 Struve visited 
Russian-occupied Galicia and advocated that it be Russified, but his view was 
rejected by the Kadet leadership. While denigrating Ukrainian culture, Struve 
unwittingly paid the Ukrainians a compliment in contending that the successful 
development of their culture would result in an “unprecedented schism of the 
Russian nation” and, implicitly, the demise of Russia as a great power. 50 
Significantly, Struve along with the Kadets became a supporter of General 
Denikin and Baron Wrangel. 

The so-called White Movement of Russian generals together with its Kadet 
advisors was hostile to the Ukrainian nation and to Ukrainian statehood. 
General Alekseev, the founder of the White Movement, in a letter dated 21 
November 1917, expressed hostility toward the Rada, referring to it as an 
“intelligent, serious opponent, skillfully led and subsidized from outside [szc]” 
and advising that it be discredited. 51 General Anton Denikin, who assumed 
command of the Russian Volunteer Army, was the son of a Russian army 
captain and a Polish mother who apparently sought to prove his loyalty to 


John S. Reshetar, Jr. 

Russia by advocating its alleged unity and indivisibility. 52 Denikin rejected a 
federal solution and was supported in this by the various Kadet Party politicians 
who were attracted to him. He refused to have any dealings with General 
Skoropadsky’s Hetmanate even after the latter advocated federation. 

The Volunteer Army also refused to have any contacts with the Directory 
Government. Ukrainian leaders were depicted as “Austro-German agents” 
under the Rada, and the Directory was equated with the Bolsheviks. 53 As 
Denikin’s prospects improved temporarily in April 1919, his programme called 
for territorial and not ethnic autonomy and proposed the division of Ukraine 
into three territorial units. Among Denikin’s advisers was Vasilii V. Shulgin, a 
notorious anti-Semite, monarchist and Ukrainophobe: Shulgin told the French 
Colonel Freydenberg that as between the Directory, headed by Petliura, and the 
Bolsheviks, the latter were the “lesser evil.” 54 Denikin’s military successes 
were short-lived, and Ukraine contributed to his defeat in 1919. He insisted 
upon taking Kiev rather than concentrating all his forces on the taking of 
Moscow. In the areas of Eastern Ukraine occupied by Denikin’s army, 
Ukrainian schools were closed and denied any public funds, and the Russian 
language was imposed: such policies led to widespread rebellion behind 
Denikin’s lines. Whether prompted by cynicism, ignorance or bigotry, Deni- 
kin’s anti-Ukrainian policies contributed significantly to his defeat. 

Although the Russian “liberals” who gravitated to Denikin endorsed his 
policies, one of their number, the Provisional Government’s ambassador to 
France, Vasilii A. Maklakov, advocated an understanding with the non-Russian 
nationalities, recognizing that the anti-Bolshevik White Movement could not 
succeed in isolation. 55 This advice was rejected even though Maklakov 
attempted to render it acceptable with the following argument: “The centralized 
structure was not the strength but the weakness of Russia: as soon as Russia is 
reborn — liberal and democratic and not tsarist — the non-Russian nationalities 
will comprehend the advantage of being united with her.” 56 

The belief that the non-Russian peoples would inevitably be drawn to union 
with Russia, once the great Russian regeneration occurred, was not unique to 
Maklakov. The Russian Social Democrats held a similar view that the nation- 
alities would lose interest in being separated from a socialist Russia. Thus the 
Ukrainian Revolution was seen as destructive of “class solidarity.” 

The Bolshevik view of the Ukrainian Revolution, as expressed by Lenin, 
underwent several changes. Initially Lenin defended the Central Rada in its 
disagreements with the Provisional Government. He also likened Ukraine to 
Finland, Poland and Norway — in terms of the latter’s separation from Sweden. 
Once the Rada proclaimed the UNR and Ukraine’s independence, Lenin 
adopted a hostile policy and declared war. The first Soviet invasion of Ukraine 
in January 1918 was openly hostile to everything Ukrainian: the language was 
regarded as “counter-revolutionary,” bookstores and print shops were closed, 
and portraits of Shevchenko were trampled underfoot. 57 The Ukrainian Soviet 

Perceptions of the Ukrainian Revolution 


government, which was established in Kharkiv, initially referred to itself as the 
UNR, although it was largely non-Ukrainian in composition. Its defeat and 
retreat to Moscow, where the Communist Party of Ukraine held its first 
congress in July 1918, posed the question of the relationship of Ukrainian 
communism to the Russian Communist Party. The fact that the ethnically 
Ukrainian Communists were in a minority meant that the Russian-dominated 
Katerynoslav faction (led by Emmanuil Kviring) demanded that the Communist 
Party of Ukraine be an integral part of the Russian Communist Party, which 
under the circumstances meant forfeiture of Ukrainian support. 

The Russians who dominated the Communist Party leadership in Ukraine 
refused to reckon with Ukrainian nationalism or to learn the language, and this 
contributed to the second Soviet defeat in Ukraine (in 1919). Lenin’s 
appointment of the unqualified Christian Rakovsky as the leading Soviet 
official in Ukraine was indicative of his ignorance of Ukrainian conditions. 
Lenin had been warned to abandon support of the Ukrainophobe Katerynoslav 
Group in the remarkable work written by Serhii Mazlakh and Vasyl Shakhrai, 
Do khvyli, which was published in Ukrainian in Saratov in 19 19. 58 The authors 
of this forthright statement of Ukrainian national communism asked Lenin how 
his version of “self-determination” differed from that of Woodrow Wilson, who 
favoured the restoration of the “one and indivisible” Russian Empire. Lenin did 
not reply directly, but the second Bolshevik defeat in Ukraine did result in 
Lenin’s “Letter to the Workers and Peasants of Ukraine” (28 December 1919), 
in which he stated that Ukrainian independence was recognized. However, 
Lenin also made the usual demand for an international alliance ( soiuz ) of 
workers and their international fraternity. While calling for “voluntary union of 
nations — a union that would not permit coercion of one nation by another,” 
Lenin conceded that it would take time to overcome the lack of confidence in 
the Ukrainian-Russian relationship. 59 

Lenin was the sole Russian leader to at least pay lip service to Ukrainian 
independence and to recognize that Ukrainians, as an oppressed people, had 
legitimate grievances against the Russians. Yet his view of the relationship as- 
sumed that the Russian “proletariat” would undergo a quasi-miraculous 
metaphorphosis under Bolshevik tutelage, purging itself of Russian chauvinism 
and imperialism, and would become the bearer of liberation and a new 
internationalism. For Lenin the Entente Powers replaced Germany as the 
embodiment of imperialism. Yet he ignored, with respect to Russia, that most 
important test of imperial and colonial rule, namely the (Russian) belief that 
certain peoples must be “protected,” are incapable of being left alone, cannot 
govern themselves and cannot be entrusted with determining what is in their 
own interest. Thus Lenin also apparently suffered from the presumptuousness 
of those Russians who believed that such allegedly independent peoples can 
only gain deliverance through union with Russia. 


John S. Reshetar, Jr. 

Three years after addressing the letter to the Ukrainian workers and 
peasants, Lenin was to express serious doubts regarding the expected changes 
that were to occur in the Russians whom he had armed with the new 
dispensation of Marxism-Leninism. In what can be regarded as his “testament” 
on the nationalities problem, Lenin at the end of December 1922 warned 
against “that truly Russian type, the Great Russian chauvinist, essentially a 
scoundrel and an oppressor, which is the typical Russian bureaucrat.” He 
expressed concern that the Soviet regime was being taken over by “chauvinistic 
Great Russian riffraff ( shval ).” 60 

Thus a basic difference in perception by Ukrainians and Russians lay in the 
fact that the Russians were not seeking deliverance or independence from 
foreign rule, as Ukrainians were. Russians were not seeking the end of 
discrimination against their language and culture, as Ukrainians were. The 
Russian forces of restoration (and reaction) were unwilling to be content with 
an ethnic Russia. They were unwilling to permit Ukrainians to seek their own 
destiny and develop indigenous solutions to their problems. Unable to discard 
their old mind-set regarding Ukraine, Russians could not abandon their image 
of a “Russia” that was supposedly “one and indivisible” and, instead, retained 
old messianic pretensions, although in a new Soviet Marxist-Leninist form. In 
branding nationally conscious Ukrainians with what was regarded as a pejora- 
tive term, “Petliurite,” many Russians sought to demean if not nullify the 
Ukrainian Revolution and grant only a species of token recognition and 
grudging acceptance of a separate Ukrainian nation in the form of the 
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. 

Russians and Ukrainians misperceived each other’s purpose at critical 
junctures. Ukrainians could not perceive themselves as entirely free agents and 
as shapers of their own destiny. Too many Ukrainians cultivated and cherished 
the illusion of a new Russia that could be trusted to respect Ukrainian rights. 
Too many Ukrainians failed to separate the national struggle from the socio- 
economic revolution and give the former priority. 

The revolutionary period provided an opportunity for a basic reordering of 
the Ukrainian-Russian relationship. However, that opportunity was lost because 
of the misperceptions that characterized both sides. Instead of a basic change in 
the relationship, the Ukrainian-Russian contest of will was merely transferred to 
a different plane and assumed somewhat different forms, but the substance of 
the contest remained essentially unchanged. 

The Russian attitude toward Ukraine and the lost opportunity served to 
confirm the significance of the basic thesis of a volume of essays published in 
1907 by Mykhailo Hrushevsky and entitled The Liberation of Russia and the 
Ukrainian Question. In Hrushevsky’ s view, the future of Russia was related to 
and even dependent upon the resolution of the Ukrainian problem. In 
1917-1920 the Russians had a choice but failed to take the opportunity of em- 
barking upon a totally new and different course in their relations with the 

Perceptions of the Ukrainian Revolution 


Ukrainians. Russian reluctance to come to terms fully with the Ukrainian prob- 
lem meant that the option of abandoning Russia’s authoritarian and expan- 
sionist past was forfeited. This forfeiture was to leave a profound imprint on 
the subsequent development of Ukraine and Russia. 


1. Oleksander Lototsky, Storinky mynuloho (Warsaw, 1934) 3: 270-71. 

2. Ibid., 340^12. 

3. The disagreement centred on the number of quasi-ministerial posts to be included 
in the General Secretariat and the number of Ukrainian provinces ( gubernii ) to be 
included in its jurisdiction. The Provisional Government opposed the 
establishment of such Ukrainian government departments as Supply, Post and 
Telegraph, Justice, Transport and Military Affairs and sought to limit the number 
of Ukrainian portfolios to nine. The Provisional Government was also unwilling 
to recognize the Rada’s claim to the provinces of Kharkiv, Kherson, Tavriia, 
Katerynoslav and Bessarabia. On the deteriorating relationship between the Rada 
and the Russian Provisional Government see Wolodymyr Stojko, “Ukrainian 
National Aspirations and the Russian Provisional Government” in Taras Hunczak, 
ed.. The Ukraine, 1917-1921: A Study in Revolution (Cambridge, Mass., 1977), 
4-32 and Oleh S. Pidhainy, The Formation of the Ukrainian Republic (Toronto, 
1966). See also John S. Reshetar, Jr., The Ukrainian Revolution, 1917-1920: A 
Study in Nationalism (Princeton, 1952), Chapter 2. 

4. Borys Martos, “Pershyi Universal Ukrainskoi Tsentral’noi Rady”, Zoloti 
rokovyny: Do 50-richchia velykoi ukrainskoi natsionalnoi revoliutsii ta 
vidnovlennia ukrainskoi derzhavnosty (Jersey City, 1967), 20-21. 

5. Hunczak, 385. For the texts of all four Universal see the appendix in Hunczak, 

6. Ibid., 388. 

7. Ibid., 395. 

8. Volodymyr Vynnychenko, Vidrodzhennia natsii (Kiev and Vienna, 1920), 2: 188. 

9. Ibid., 136. 

10. Ibid., 3: 158-9. 

11. Vynnychenko’s view of the Russians is expressed in his diary and represents a 
curious combination of revolutionary idealism and the harsh reality of observed 
Russian conduct. Initially Vynnychenko was both attracted to and repelled by the 
Russian Bolsheviks. Occasionally he referred to Russia as Katsapiia and to 
“ katsap communists” who were said to be prepared to sacrifice “world socialism” 
for their own imperialism. Nevertheless Vynnychenko and his wife journeyed to 
Moscow in May 1920 on a Czechoslovak diplomatic passport (under the assumed 
names of Josef and Natalie Simon). They were accompanied by the Czech social 
democrat Jaromir Necas and by Vynnychenko’s secretary, Oleksander Badan. 


John S. Reshetar, Jr. 

Vynnychenko’s diary indicates that he had serious doubts regarding the “mission 
to Moscow” and saw it as a “road to Calvary.” Much of the time in Moscow, be- 
tween May and September 1920, Vynnychenko spent waiting. Although he held 
talks with Chicherin, Radek, Kamenev, Zinoviev and Trotsky, he was not 
received by either Lenin or Stalin. In Lenin’s Moscow Vynnychenko sensed the 
dominance of the Russian “elemental force” ( stikhiia ) that rejected the idea of 
communism and genuine federation. When Chicherin was more interested in the 
disposition of the Donets Basin and the Kuban, it was evident to Vynnychenko 
that the concern was “for Russia, for themselves as a nation” and not for 
communism. By 1 1 June, less than three weeks after arriving in Moscow, 
Vynnychenko concluded that his journey was “absolutely unnecessary, idealistic, 
the journey of a sentimental youth, a gymnasium student” and that “nothing has 
changed, they [the Russians] have learned nothing.” See Volodymyr 
Vynnychenko, Shchodennyk, Tom I, 1911-1920 (Edmonton and New York, 
1980), 287, 336, 412-13, 415, 430-32, 437-8. Vynnychenko’s dislike and distrust 
of the Russian Bolsheviks was usually tempered by his contempt for the 
bourgeoisie and its hatred of the Bolsheviks. Thus he feared becoming an 
unwitting ally of the class enemy and this fear apparently made it impossible for 
him to reconcile the national and social revolutions in Ukraine. 

12. Mykhailo Hrushevsky, “Ochyshchennia ohnem,” in Zoloti rokovyny, 72. 

13. Mykhailo Hrushevsky, “Kinets moskovskoi oriientatsii,” Zoloti rokovyny, 74. 

14. Ibid., 73-4. Hrushevsky’s statements were originally published in 1918 in a 
volume entitled Na porozi novoi Ukrainy, Hadky i mrii and are also reprinted in 
Vyvid prav Ukrainy, ed. Bohdan Kravtsiv (Krawciw) (New York, 1964), 208-29. 

15. Symon Petliura, Statti, lysty, dokumenty (New York, 1979), 2: 516. 

16. Marvin Rintala, Four Finns (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1969), 57. 

17. Vynnychenko left the leadership twice — first early in 1918 and again early in 
1919; in the former instance the Socialist Revolutionaries replaced the Social 
Democrats and in the latter instance he resigned because he was not acceptable to 
the Entente and questioned that orientation. Hrushevsky retired from active 
political life with the overthrow of the Rada; he took up residence in Vienna, 
where he founded the Ukrainian Free University and the Ukrainian Sociological 
Institute and also published the newspaper, Boritesia, poborete. 

18. Iakiv Zozulia, ed., Velyka Ukrainska Revoliutsiia, Kalendar istorychnykh podii 
(New York, 1967), 37-8. 

19. Ibid., 44. The Bolshevik force that succeeded in taking Kiev (with the aid of 
Russian elements within the city) consisted of approximately 6,000 troops. See 
Dmytro Doroshenko, Istoriia Ukrainy, 1917-1923 (Uzhhorod, 1930; reprint 
edition. New York, 1954), 1: 284. 

20. Vynnychenko, Vidrodzhennia natsii, 3: 140. Although this statement may have 
been calculated in view of Vynnychenko’s efforts in the summer of 1920 to come 
to terms with the Russian Bolsheviks, it nevertheless reflects the extent of his 
commitment to Ukrainian national bolshevism. 

21. Ibid., 3: 135-6, 141-2, 167-76. While residing in Austria in 1919 Vynnychenko 
was attacted to the Foreign Group of the Ukrainian Communist Party, which was 

Perceptions of the Ukrainian Revolution 


formed in Vienna in September 1919 and commenced publication of Nova doba 
in March 1920. Vynnychenko regarded the Ukrainian Directory as serving the 
interests of the Entente Powers and was of the opinion that Petliura should be 
opposed by a Ukrainian revolutionary leader and not by the foreign communist 
Christian Rakovsky, whom Lenin had placed at the head of the Ukrainian Soviet 
Republic. Rakovsky’ s presence, in Vynnychenko’ s view, transformed the social 
war into a national war, whereas Vynnychenko’ s presence in the Ukrainian Soviet 
government would supposedly have weakened the UNR and Petliura’ s forces, 
which he branded as “the Ukrainian counter-revolution.” Vynnychenko believed 
that “If the revolution is victorious, the national cause will prevail. If reaction is 
victorious, the national cause will perish.” This rationale behind Vynnychenko’ s 
unsuccessful journey to Moscow and Kharkiv in 1920 was based on his search for 
harmony between the national and social goals of the revolution and his fear of 
choosing between them. Yet Vynnychenko was also haunted by the fear that he 
might betray the Ukrainian nation and that in joining the Russian Bolsheviks he 
would “strangle with one’s own hands one’s nation and oneself,” while if he 
joined the Directory and Petliura he would be “strangling the revolution . . . and 
that which I regard as good for all humankind.” While in Moscow Vynnychenko 
was apparently offered the post of deputy head of the Soviet Ukrainian Council of 
Commissars; Trotsky also offered him the military commissariat, but it was clear 
that this was to be a figurehead post, as there was not to be any separate 
Ukrainian army. Vynnychenko states that his demand for a seat on the Politburo 
was refused. Thus he concluded that he was being offered a purely “decorative” 
role and that if he were prepared to join the Russians in what they were doing in 
Ukraine they would not question his credentials as a communist. He concluded 
that in order to be in Ukraine, on the terms offered him in Moscow, he would 
have to cease being a Ukrainian. 

Vynnychenko sought from Moscow an end to “maltreatment and mockery” in 
Ukraine, state independence for Ukraine, an independent and truly Ukrainian 
government, use of the Ukrainian language in all institutions and schools, and an 
independent Ukrainian army. Yet he also advocated a “military and economic 
alliance” and the “closest mutual aid” and a (joint?) struggle for Galicia. 
Vynnychenko objected to Ukraine’s being denied separate membership in the 
Comintern. He was disturbed by what he regarded as Soviet “lies, hypocrisy and 
deception.” On his second visit to Kharkiv, in August 1920, he noted that the 
Ukapisty (Ukrainian Communist Party members) were being “terrorized by the 
russificators” and that even if he were to accept Moscow’s unattractive terms 
“one cannot be certain that some Russian Black-Hundred [reactionary] who now 
calls himself a communist will not denounce you [to the authorities] and that you 
will not find yourself in the hands of the Cheka [the security police] or 
somewhere more distant.” While in Kharkiv, Vynnychenko sensed that Soviet 
rule in Ukraine was an occupation regime based on “the ration, punishment and 
shooting” and was depressed by the general fatigue and apathy of the population. 
He noted that “Communist Moscow’s” rule reflected “the old Russian national 
trait of hypocrisy, brutality, unpardonable coercion, the old habit of belief in the 
providential role of Russia . . .” Vynnychenko could not accept Dmytro 
Manuilsky’s repeated assurances that the Communist Party of Ukraine was 


John S. Reshetar, Jr. 

committed to Ukrainization; he regarded his remaining in Ukraine as a 
“Golgotha” — a road to Calvary. Vynnychenko left Soviet Russia on 23 September 
1920, bound for European exile, disillusioned with the Russian betrayal of the 
revolution but still guided by what he regarded as the “highest law”: “to be of val- 
ue to others and to be true to yourself.” See Volodymyr Vynnychenko, 
Shchodennyk, 1: 396-7, 409, 432-4, 438, 441, 445, 454-5, 464, 467-8, 475, 479, 

Vynnychenko’ s bargaining position in Moscow was undoubtedly weakened as 
a result of the Soviet military successes in Ukraine in the summer of 1920. If 
Petliura’s and Pilsudski’s forces had been able to retain control of Kiev in June 
1920 it is possible that Vynnychenko’s position in the negotiations with the 
Russian Bolsheviks would have been strengthened. 

For a critical appraisal of Vynnychenko’s views as utopian and naive see Ivan 
L. Rudnytsky, “Volodymyr Vynnychenko’s Ideas in the Light of His Political 
Writings,” Essays in Modern Ukrainian History, ed. Peter L. Rudnytsky 
(Edmonton, 1987), 417-36. 

22. Vynnychenko opposed “priests, Te Deums, church bells with all the Petliurite 
accessories.” Vidrodzhennia natsii, 3: 166-7. Cf. Petliura, Statti, lysty, dokumenty, 
1: 400-03. 

23. Lototsky, 3: 325. 

24. Ibid. For a more detailed discussion of the origins and differences between the 
various Ukrainian political parties see Jurij Borys, The Sovietization of Ukraine, 
1917-1923, revised edition (Edmonton, 1980), Chapter 3. 

25. For an analysis of the results of the Constituent Assembly elections in Ukraine 
see Steven L. Guthier, “The Popular Base of Ukrainian Nationalism in 1917,” 
Slavic Review 38 (March 1979): 30^17. 

26. On the role of peasant rebellion in the Ukrainian Revolution see Arthur E. 
Adams, “The Great Ukrainian Jacquerie,” in Hunczak, The Ukraine, 1917-1921, 
247-70 and the chapter on Nestor Makhno by Frank Sysyn in the same volume. 
See also Michael Palij, The Anarchism of Nestor Makhno, 1918-1921: An Aspect 
of the Ukrainian Revolution (Seattle, 1976). 

27. Lonhyn Tsehelsky, Vid legend do pravdy (New York, 1960), 76-7 and 80-82. 

28. Ibid., 91, 123^1, 132-9 and 154-61. 

29. See Imperatorskaia Akademiia Nauk, Ob otmene stesnenii malorusskago 
pechatnogo slova (St. Petersburg, 1905); see also Peterburska Akademiia Nauk v 
spravi znesenia zaborony ukrainskoho slova (Lviv, 1905). 

30. Lototsky, 3: 104 and 292. 

31. The Russian antipathy to Shevchenko was expressed by the literary critic 
Vissarion Belinsky, who regarded the Ukrainian languge as doomed and 
unworthy of literature. See Victor Swoboda, “Shevchenko and Belinsky” in 
George S. N. Luckyj, ed., Shevchenko and the Critics, 1861-1980 (Toronto, 
1980), 303-23. Cf. Mykola Hudzii’s contribution to the same volume. 

32. Lototsky, 3: 121-2. 

33. Robert P. Browder and Alexander F. Kerensky, eds.. The Russian Provisional 

Perceptions of the Ukrainian Revolution 


Government, 1917 (Stanford, 1961), 1: 344-5, 351-2; cf. 319-21. 

34. Ibid., 1: 376-7, 385-6 and 396. 

35. Ibid., 1: 401. Elections to the Ukrainian Constituent Assembly were not 
authorized until 16 (29) November 1917. It was to have 301 members and 
elections were not held until 9 January 1918, when 171 members were elected in 
parts of Ukraine not occupied by the Bolsheviks. See Zozulia, 36 and 45. 
Vynnychenko claimed that the Provisional Government was planning to arrest the 
members of the Rada’s delegation that went to Petrograd. See Vynnychenko, 
Vidrodzhennia natsii, 2: 59-60. See also Doroshenko, 157. 

36. Lototsky, 3: 220-21. 

37. See N. Polonska- V asylenko, Istorychni pidvalyny Ukrainskoi Avtokefalnoi 
Pravoslavnoi Tserkvy (Munich, 1964), as well as her article “Osoblyvosti 
Ukrainskoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvy” in JJkrainskyi zbirnyk 14 (Munich, 1958), 

38. “Malorosiistvo” in Entsyklopediia ukrainoznavstva, Slovnykova chastyna, 4: 1451. 

39. Lototsky, 3: 271. 

40. Ibid., 189-90. 

41. See Lubomyr Wynar, Mykhailo Hrushevsky i Naukove Tovarary stvo im. Tarasa 
Shevchenka (Munich, 1970). 

42. On the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine see Oleh S. Fedyshyn, Germany’s 
Drive to the East and the Ukrainian Revolution, 1917-1918 (New Brunswick, 
N.J., 1971), 30-48, as well as his chapter, “The Germans and the Union for the 
Liberation of the Ukraine, 1914-1917,” in Hunczak, 305-22. 

43. On German aid to the Bolsheviks, see Z.A.B. Zeman, ed., Germany and the 
Revolution in Russia, 1915-1918: Documents from the Archives of the German 
Foreign Ministry (London and New York, 1958). Evidence in the Austrian State 
Archives indicates that initially the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine did 
channel some funds to Lenin; see Stefan T. Possony, Lenin: The Compulsive 
Revolutionary (Chicago, 1964), 169-70. 

44. Lototsky, 3: 277-9. 

45. Pavlo Khrystiuk, Zamitky i materiialy do istorii ukrainskoi revoliutsii, 1917-1920 
(Vienna, 1921), 2: 21-3 and Doroshenko, 153-4. 

46. Oliver H. Radkey, The Agrarian Foes of Bolshevism (New York, 1958), 216-17. 

47. Ibid., 219. 

48. Browder and Kerensky, 317. 

49. Zozulia, 35. 

50. See Richard Pipes, Struve, Liberal on the Right, 1905-1944 (Cambridge, 1980), 
210-19, especially 211 and 213. On the inflexibility and lack of realism of Kadet 
policies, see William G. Rosenberg, Liberals in the Russian Revolution: The 
Constitutional Democratic Party, 1917-1921 (Princeton, 1974). 

51. Anna Procyk, “Nationality Policy of the White Movement: Relations between the 
Volunteer Army and the Ukraine” (Ph.D. dissertation. Department of History, 
Columbia University, 1973), 43. It should be noted that some of the Russian 


John S. Reshetar, Jr. 

generals adopted a more realistic position. Thus General Dukhonin, the Russian 
Supreme Commander, recognized the Rada on 9 (11) November 1917, but was 
murdered at Staff Headquarters on the following day. See Zozulia, 35. General 
Kornilov in his proposed political programme in early 1918 equated Ukraine with 
Poland and Finland and stated that their “strivings toward state regeneration” 
should be supported. Miliukov opposed this position. (Procyk, 54). 

52. Procyk, 90 and 95-6. 

53. Ibid., 226-7 and 235. 

54. Ibid., 211-14. It is revealing that in his final years Shulgin took up residence in 
Soviet Russia, where the authorities published his views in what was apparently 
an affront to Ukrainians and Jews. 

55. Ibid., 180-93. 

56. Ibid., 188-9. This statement is from a letter to V. A. Stepanov, dated 30 April 
1919, in the Wrangel Military Archives at the Hoover Institution. 

57. Vynnychenko, Vidrodzhennia natsii, 2: 271-2. 

58. See Serhii Mazlakh and Vasyl Shakhrai, On the Current Situation in the Ukraine, 
ed. Peter J. Potichnyj (Ann Arbor, 1970), Chapter 20. On the failure of the second 
Bolshevik invasion of Ukraine see Arthur E. Adams, Bolsheviks in the Ukraine: 
The Second Campaign, 1918-1919 (New Haven, 1963). 

59. V. I. Lenin, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, 5th ed. (Moscow, 1963), 40: 42-4. The 
Eighth Conference of the All-Russian Communist Party (of Bolsheviks) in early 
December 1919 approved a Central Committee resolution of 29 November 1919 
“Concerning Soviet Power in Ukraine” which supposedly recognized Ukrainian 
independence but defined the relationship between the Ukrainian and Russian 
republics as a “federal” relationship. It supposedly committed the Russian Party to 
“eliminate all barriers to the free development of the Ukrainian language and 
culture” and to “transform the Ukrainian language into an instrument of 
communist enlightenment of the toiling masses.” See KPSS v rezoliutsiiakh i 
resheniiakh sezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK, 8th ed. (Moscow, 1979), 
2: 124-6. Vynnychenko’ s “mission to Moscow” in 1920 was designed to 
determine the exact meaning of these professed commitments and whether this 
resolution or the old “one and indivisible” Russia was the policy of Lenin’s Cen- 
tral Committee. However, Vynnychenko suspected that the idea of communism 
and a “federation of equal and independent [sic] members” was unacceptable to 
the Russian stikhiia. Vynnychenko, Shchodennyk, Tom I, 1911-1920, 435. 

60. Lenin, 45: 357. 

Yaroslav Bilinsky 

Political Relations between Russians and 
Ukrainians in the USSR: 

The 1970s and Beyond 

To the memory of ANATOLY P. BEKLEMISHEV (1890-1959): 
Scion of an old Russian family, citizen of Kiev, patriot of Ukraine. 

Political relations between Russians and Ukrainians reach back into the 
Middle Ages, and, as every schoolboy in Ukraine knows, they have been rather 
close in the last 327 years* except in the case of one region, the relatively 
smaller Western Ukraine. To be linked with another people for eleven 
generations is a serious matter. My intuition tells me, however, that the twelfth 
generation since the Treaty of Pereiaslav, i.e., the Ukrainians living from about 
1981 to 2010, may well turn out the decisive one: it will determine the modus 
vivendi with the Russians for a great many years, possibly forever. The ques- 
tion for the two peoples is whether the traditional close, actually stifling 
relationship is to be continued or whether it can be replaced with one that is 
more free, more like that between equal nations and states. I believe it would be 
a great mistake to assume that the problem concerns only the smaller nation — 
the 42.3 million Ukrainians compared with the 137.4 million Russians. 1 The 
further development of the Russians as a free people hinges on their 
abandonment of a totalitarian empire, and since Ukraine is by far the most 
populous and richest non-Russian republic, 2 the growth of the Russian nation 
will be determined by its finding a solution to the Ukrainian question. 

After a brief survey of official policies this article will concentrate on the 
relations between Russian and Ukrainian dissenters. In the third part, I shall ask 
some political questions which are very important for the two peoples in the 
long run, whether or not they have already been raised in the dissident 

* In his article for this volume, “The Unloved Alliance: Political Relations between 
Muscovy and Ukraine during the Seventeenth Century,” Hans-Joachim Torke brings out 
that effective political union between Ukraine and Muscovy was not established imme- 
diately in 1654. For the sake of convenience I shall use that date, however, pleading the 
liberty of a non-historian. 


Yaroslav Bilinsky 

Official Policy 

Soviet nationality policy in the last decade has been one of aggressive 
denationalizing, with a heavy emphasis on the predominance of the Russians 
and with a notable lack of candor. For a relatively clear statement of Leonid 
Brezhnev’s approach we have to go back to his keynote address at the 
celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the Soviet Union 
on 21 December 1972. 

Brezhnev asserted at the ceremony that the nationality question in the USSR, 
which had been inherited from the Russian monarchy, “had been solved com- 
pletely, definitely and irrevocably.” 3 He warmly praised the Russian people for 
making “huge efforts and, to put it plainly, sacrifices” to help overcome the 
backwardness of the “national,” non-Russian periphery ( natsionalnykh okrain ). 4 
Brezhnev had been even more outspoken in his praise “of the great Russian 
people, above all,” when at the 24th Party Congress in 1971 he had said: 

Its revolutionary energy, selflessness, diligence, and profound inter- nationalism 
have rightly brought it the sincere respect of all the peoples of our Socialist 
Fatherland. 5 

At the anniversary celebration almost two years later Brezhnev was genuinely 
pleased with the increased significance of Russian: it had become the language 
of mutual communication of all the nations and ethnic groups of the Soviet 
Union and had, moreover, emerged as a universally recognized world lang- 
uage. 6 In the USSR there had become “firmly established, had become a true 
reality ( realnoi deistvitelnostiu) a new historical community of men — the Soviet 
people (sovetskii narod). ,, [Emphasis in original.] 7 He warned the non-Russian 

The further rapprochement of nations and ethnic groups of our country constitutes 
an objective process. The Party is against the artificial forcing of [this 
process] — there is no need for this whatsoever, this process is being dictated by 
the entire course of our Soviet life. At the same time the Party considers 
inadmissible any efforts whatsoever to delay the process of the rapprochement of 
nations, to create obstacles to it under this or that pretext, artificially to reinforce 
national isolation, for this would contradict the general direction of the develop- 
ment of our community, the internationalist ideas and ideology of the com- 
munists, the interests of the building of communism. 8 

There is more to Brezhnev’s almost lyrical references to the Russian and the 
new Soviet people than meets the eye. First of all, without any explanation 
whatever, the 1972 celebration was held not on the true date (30 December) but 
on Stalin’s birthday. Stalin was discreetly praised as one of the noteworthy 
Party leaders ( vidnye deiateli partii) who had, under Lenin’s leadership, to be 
sure, participated in the development of Soviet nationality policy: Stalin’s name 
was inserted after those of M. I. Kalinin, F. E. Dzerzhinsky and 

Political Relations Between Russians and Ukrainians 


la. M. Sverdlov. But Stalin’s name was omitted when Brezhnev quickly 
glossed over Lenin’s critique of the mistaken view of some comrades with 
respect to “autonomization” (in truth, Stalin had been the champion of those 
views). 9 Brezhnev’s speech of 21 December 1972 thus had not only a distinctly 
pro-Russian but also a transparently pro-Stalinist hue. Secondly, by and large, 
the First Secretaries of the non-Russian republics did not support the 
assimilationist idea of the “new historical community, the Soviet people.” 10 

At the 26th Party Congress in February-March 1981, Brezhnev repeated 
many of his themes of 1972, but in somewhat muted form. No longer did he 
boldly claim that the nationality problem had been solved. After two positive 
assertions — 

Without faltering ( neuklonno ) there has been strengthened the fraternal friendship 

of all the peoples of our multinational Fatherland. 

Today the unity of the Soviet nations is solid as it never has been before. 

[Continuing applause .] [Emphasis in original.] 11 

Brezhnev admitted: 

This does not mean, of course, that all questions in the sphere of nationality 

relations have already been solved. 12 

Seemingly with an even hand Brezhnev denounced both [Russian] “chauvin- 
ism” and [non-Russian] “nationalism,” both “anti-Semitism [and] Zionism.” 
His reference to the Soviet people in 1981 was also much less strident than in 
1972. 13 

Between Brezhnev’s aggressive keynote speech at the fiftieth anniversary of 
the establishment of the USSR and his almost subdued statement to the 26th 
Party Congress there have been the adoption of the new Soviet Constitution in 
1977 and the decision, in late 1978 and early 1979, to press for an especially 
intensive Russification of the non-Russian peoples. The 1977 Constitution did 
not abolish the Union Republics, nor did it deprive them of the formal right of 
secession. But apart from those two concessions to the sentiments of the non- 
Russian peoples it was a move backward. It provided for a more centralized 
government, and on closer legal analysis its paragraphs appear more compatible 
with the outright abolition of the Union Republics than even with traditional 
Soviet pseudo-federalism. 14 

The intensive Russification policy of 1978-9 was carried out in two stages. 
In the first stage, the USSR Council of Ministers on 13 October 1978 passed a 
still unpublished decree “Concerning Measures for the Further Improvement of 
the Study and Teaching of Russian in the Union Republics.” Essentially, the 
decree appears to have called for starting the teaching of Russian from the first 
semester of the first grade in non-Russian elementary schools. For whatever 
reason, this decree has been surrounded with extraordinary secrecy. According 


Yaroslav Bilinsky 

to a private communication received by a Baltic-American scholar, the decree 
was apparently delivered to Republic educational officials by special couriers, 
to be read and memorized in a special room, without making written notes; the 
copy of the original decree was then returned to the courier. In their turn, the 
Republic Communist Party Central Committee Bureaus issued detailed 
confidential decrees on implementation. 15 If this be true — and I have no reason 
to doubt the veracity of my sources — this would make Russian the first lingua 
franca of a multinational state to be introduced in the stealth of night, by secret 

The Tashkent Conference of 22^1 May 1979 basically called upon the ap- 
propriate authorities to intensify the teaching of Russian at the kindergarten 
level, in elementary and secondary schools, in vocational schools and in 
institutions of higher learning. To that end, more and better teachers of Russian 
were to be trained in a great hurry. Similar efforts were made to keep the 
advance draft recommendations of the Tashkent Conference, which had been 
circulated to republic officials in March 1979, secret from the people, but those 
efforts failed. 16 

I would regard the Soviet nationality policy of the 1970s as lacking in 
candor for the following main reason. Given the upsurge of Russian 
nationalism in the Soviet Union, given the top priority officially accorded to the 
development of the resources of the RSFSR (the rich West Siberian oilfields, 
but also the poor non-black-soil zone in northern and central Russia), given the 
ever-increasing animosity between the Russians and other Slavs on the one 
hand and Soviet citizens from Central Asia and Transcaucasia on the other — I 
find it hard to believe that the present leaders of the Soviet Union are really 
serious about creating a single Soviet people out of some hundred nationalities 
in the long run and, in the short and intermediate run, teaching every single 
Uzbek village boy and girl fluent Russian. The “growing together of all Soviet 
peoples” may really be an ideologically acceptable smokescreen for a more 
limited operative policy with two variants. The maximal variant would be the 
linguistic and eventual identificational assimilation of the peoples in the 
European part of the USSR: the Belorussians and the Ukrainians, the three 
Baltic peoples, the Moldavians, and assorted other peoples such as the 
Mordvinians. The minimal operative variant, however, would be to completely 
assimilate the Belorussians and the Ukrainians, creating in the process a kind of 
East Slavic empire. 17 

Linguistic, though not indentificational, assimilation has proceeded rather far 
in Belorussia. 18 It is certainly not a secret that linguistic Russification also 
presents a danger to the more numerous Ukrainians, though not to the same 
degree as for Belorussians. 19 This is not the place to go into operative details, 

Let me conclude this quick survey of official policies by suggesting that a 
more candid — but also less politic — summary of recent Soviet nationality 

Political Relations Between Russians and Ukrainians 


policy would read: We say that we want to form a single Soviet people 
composed of all fraternal Soviet nations, but we really mean that we want the 
Russians to be on top of a thoroughly Russified East Slavic trinity — the 
Russians, the Belorussians and the Ukrainians — -and we will also be satisfied 
with a larger unit, including the Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians; the 
Moldavians; and also some of the “internal” (i.e., “republic-locked”) non- 
European peoples of the RSFSR. 

Russian Dissenters and the Ukrainian Question 

Taking my cue from the late Andrei Amalrik’s “wheel of ideologies,” I 
would like to start my survey with liberal Marxism. 20 Neither the late Russian 
writer Aleksei Kosterin nor the late Major-General Petro Hryhorenko [Petr 
Grigorenko] in his first period of dissent (roughly from 1961 to 1976), both 
genuine Marxist- Leninists, said anything on the Ukrainian question directly. 
Judging, however, from their sympathetic attitude toward the plight of the 
Crimean Tatars, 21 it could be assumed that their feelings toward the autonomist 
or perhaps even separatist Ukrainians would have been equally sensitive. 
Hryhorenko, who was, of course, an ethnic Ukrainian, became a leading charter 
member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group in 1976 and gradually evolved into a 
moderate Ukrainian nationalist. 

Another publicist who is frequently cited among the liberal Marxist 
dissenters is the historian Roy A. Medvedev. 22 One bona fide defender of 
Soviet human rights, in a conversation with this writer, indignantly questioned 
Roy Medvedev’s dissident status. He pictured Medvedev as a hidden con- 
formist, with good access to Western media and enjoying — for a Soviet 
dissident — the very best of duplicating facilities. This may be a somewhat neg- 
ative view of the brother of the genuine, expelled dissident Zhores Medvedev. 
At most, Roy Medvedev has tried to play the role of a very cautious, very 
responsible critic of the regime, so cautious, in fact, that he is known to have 
shown his writings to Soviet officials before circulating them in samizdat , 23 

The nationality question does not apparently play a major part in the 
voluminous writings of Roy Medvedev, unlike in the work of Kosterin and 
Hryhorenko. To the extent, however, that Medvedev’s position on the 
Ukrainian question can be ascertained it appears, on balance, hostile. On the 
whole, Medvedev endorses the allegedly natural linguistic and identificational 
assimilation of Ukrainians to Russians, which sometimes — not very precisely — 
has been dubbed Russification. According to Medvedev, Ukrainians in Ukraine 
should be allowed to maintain their culture, but upon leaving the boundaries of 
the Ukrainian SSR they should be assimilated to Russians. For example, he 
specifically opposes the demand made by Ivan Dziuba 24 that Ukrainians outside 
Ukraine should be taught in Ukrainian. 25 Medvedev accepts as “progressive” 26 
or, at least, “inevitable” 27 and hence morally unobjectionable the mixing of 


Yaroslav Bilinsky 

nationalities and the consequent linguistic-cultural Russification. In his book 
On Socialist Democracy , for example, he writes: 

Certain demographic processes have . . . made national problems more acute . . . 

In certain regions and cities of the Ukraine, Ukrainians have become a 
minority . 28 

One cannot ignore the process of natural Russification taking place in many 
republics, particularly with regard to language (and often the culture as a 
whole) ... In Kiev today, there are just a few Ukrainian schools left, and they 
have been able to maintain their enrollment only by introducing English [!] as the 
medium of instruction in several subjects . 29 

Medvedev would also like questions about nationality to be eliminated from 
Soviet personnel questionnaires and from internal passports in order to facilitate 
identificational assimilation to the Russians . 30 Later Medvedev criticizes 
Solzhenitsyn’s Russian nationalism and isolationism, but then states: “ ... it is a 
fact that the national life of Russians is hampered to a far greater degree than 
that of, say, Armenians, Georgians, and the Uzbek peoples.” He immediately 
continues: “Thus, for example, the villages and hamlets of basically Russian 
districts are in an immeasurably more neglected condition than the villages of 
Ukraine , Moldavia, the Transcaucasus and the Baltic.” [Emphasis added ] 31 
Medvedev’s territorial ideal is the status quo. He says: “All of the USSR’s 
republics must take part in the development of Siberia’s riches and use them in 
their own economies .” 32 As if to deliberately becloud the issue of national self- 
determination, in his treatise On Socialist Democracy Medvedev offers the 
ingenious proposal of compulsory periodic referenda on secession. He writes: 

The best way to guarantee this right [of secession] would be to institute a 
compulsory referendum in every republic at least once every ten years. Obviously 
this presupposes absolutely free discussion of all national problems, as well as the 
inevitable appearance of groups and movements in favour of secession. The 
referendum should be conducted by secret ballot under the supervision of special 
commissions composed of representatives from the other Union Republics. The 
Supreme Soviet of each Union Republic should also have the right to hold a 
referendum in exceptional circumstances before the expiration of ten years, but 
not within one year of the next regularly scheduled referendum. Certainly a vast 
majority in all the Union Republics would vote to remain in the USSR. But if a 
republic were to secede, there should be a further compulsory referendum after 
ten years on the question of whether or not to rejoin the Union. It could be held 
earlier if the population demanded it . 33 

Given the long history of political pressures to maintain and strengthen the 
USSR, Medvedev’s proposals appear to have been designed to help advocates 
of the pseudo-federal, de-facto unitary status quo (note, in particular, the 
provision for a compulsory follow-up referendum on “whether or not to rejoin 
the Union”). 

Political Relations Between Russians and Ukrainians 


The most important personality in the liberal-democratic centre is 
indubitably Academician Andrei D. Sakharov. Unlike those of Roy Medvedev, 
Sakharov’s views on the nationality question have undergone several changes. 
In his 10,000-word treatise on Progress, Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom 
of June 1968 we find passing references to Stalinist and current anti-Semitism, 
to the disgraceful treatment of the Crimean Tatars, but also to Stalin’s 
Ukrainophobia. 34 This shows that from the beginning Sakharov has been 
sensitive to violations of human rights of members of different non-Russian 
nationalities, Ukrainians included. At the same time it would appear that at first 
Sakharov did not think that the Ukrainian problem, for instance, was 
sufficiently important to merit analysis. In his first appeal to Brezhnev and 
other Soviet leaders of 19 March 1970, which was co-signed by physicist 
Valentin F. Turchin and by Roy Medvedev, Sakharov explicitly demanded the 
restoration of all rights to nations that had been forcibly resettled by Stalin. 
Interestingly enough, possibly under the influence of Roy Medvedev, he also 
called for the abolition of the registration of nationality in internal passports 
and for the deletion of the question pertaining to nationality from personnel 
questionnaires. 35 

It is not until 1971-2 that Sakhararov raises the question of nationality more 
systematically, that he truly grapples with it. In his memorandum of 5 March 
1971 he writes: “One must point out the increasingly acute nationalities prob- 
lem.” (In his postscript of June 1972 he even accuses the Soviet government of 
a “deliberate aggravation of nationalities problems.”) 36 Besides calling for the 
repatriation of the Tatars and for allowing the emigration of Jews (“urgent 
problem” no. 3) and besides protesting against national discrimination in the 
allotment of jobs, Sakharov makes an interesting new suggestion that the right 
of secession of the non-Russian Union Republics be legally clarified and that 
citizens not be prosecuted for raising that problem, but that open discussion of 
the issue be allowed. He writes: 

In my opinion, a juridical settlement of the problem and the passing of a law 
guaranteeing the right to secession would be of great internal and international 
significance as a confirmation of the anti-imperialist and anti-chauvinist nature of 
our policies. The number of republics tending toward secession is, to all 
appearances, very small, and these tendencies would doubtless become even 
weaker with time as a result of the future democratization of the USSR. 
[Emphasis added] 37 

He also assures his readers that even if any republic seceded peacefully from 
the USSR it “would maintain intact its ties with the socialist commonwealth of 
nations.” 38 

Implicitly, Sakharov shows a certain coolness toward the prospect of 
secession. He evidently hopes that the “future democratization of the USSR” 
would obviate the need for such a break-up of the Soviet empire. At the same 


Yaroslav Bilinsky 

time it should be stressed that Sakharov would emphatically defend the human 
rights of non-Russians who were being unjustly persecuted by the regime, even 
if the victims did not share Sakharov’s liberal-democratic, centrist views. For 
instance, repeatedly Sakharov defended the Ukrainian nationalist Valentyn 
Moroz, who stood somewhat right of centre. 39 

More recently, writing from exile, Sakharov expressed his profound distrust 
of nationalism, even in its mildest, “dissident” form. He wrote on 4 May 1980 
that the idea of national superiority was the third “simple-minded idea” of “the 
ideology of the Soviet bourgeois,” which he considered “rather typical, alas, of 
workers and peasants and wide [circles of the] intelligentsia as well.” He 

[That idea] assumes heavy, hysterical and “pogromist” forms in some Russians, 
but not only among them. How often we happen to (prikhoditsia ) hear: we are 
spending [our resources] on those black (or yellow) apes, keep feeding those 
drones. Or: it is all the fault of those Jews (or Russians, Georgians, chuchmeki — 
i.e., inhabitants of Central Asia). Those are very frightening symptoms after 60 
years of the declared “friendship of peoples.” Officially, the Communist ideology 
is an internationalist one, but quietly [the regime] is manipulating nationalist 
prejudices (at first, with some caution, and I hope that those forces will never be 
untied — as if after class hatred we were in need of a racial one!). I have become 
convinced that nationalist ideology is dangerous and destructive even in — at first 
sight — its most humane dissident forms. 40 

Does Sakharov’s outburst against Russian and non-Russian nationalisms 
even in their “most humane dissident forms” mean a deliberate revision of his 
1971 demands to put the secession provisions of the Soviet constitution to a 
test? I do not know — it may just be an emotional reaction of a great man 
embittered by undeserved exile and the harassment of his family. In any case, 
actions speak louder than words. History will not forget the smooth and effec- 
tive co-operation between the Ukrainian Helsinki Group and the older Moscow 
Helsinki Group, which latter strongly overlapped with the Sakharov circle. 

Sakharov was offered the chairmanship of the Moscow Public Group to 
Further the Implementation of the Helsinki Accords by its de-facto organizer, 
Iurii Orlov, but he declined. Nevertheless, Sakharov’s wife — Elena Bonner 
— did formally join the group, and Sakharov himself “approved its establish- 
ment and helped it as much as he could.” 41 Among the charter members of the 
Moscow Group was also the Ukrainian Major-General Petro Hryhorenko. The 
formation of the Moscow Helsinki Group was publicly announced on 12 May 

Half a year later, on 9 November 1976, a Ukrainian Helsinki Group was set 
up in Kiev. Its head was the writer, poet, and former high Party official Mykola 
Rudenko. Why was the Ukrainian Group formed at all? The Moscow Group 
was certainly not insensitive to the plight of the Ukrainian dissidents. Far from 
it — its memoranda widely publicized the persecution of Ukrainians. 42 The 

Political Relations Between Russians and Ukrainians 


Moscow Group was also generous in supplying its Ukrainian fellow-dissidents 
with technical facilities. In the words of Lyudmilla Alexeyeva, who served as 
unofficial secretary and assistant to Orlov in the first eight months: “At first the 
Ukrainian and Lithuanian Helsinki Groups relied on the assistance of the 
Moscow Group, which introduced them through foreign correspondents to the 
public abroad .” 43 A Ukrainian-American sympathizer confirmed this, but also 
emphasized that eventually the Ukrainian Group established its own direct 
contacts abroad. It is best to let Rudenko himself answer the question why he 
established the Group, for which he, an invalid since World War II, was 
eventually sentenced to seven years’ labour camp plus five years’ exile: 

It is incorrect [to say] that our Group is a section of the one in Moscow. We 
collaborate with the Muscovites; they are actively supporting us, for they are 
genuine democrats. But from the [very] beginning we have decided not to enter 
into a relationship of subordination, because we have that which is not under- 
stood by every Russian. [Emphasis added ] 44 

What were the Ukrainians to struggle for by themselves? We can assume 
that the Ukrainian cultural renaissance or, to put it negatively, resistance to the 
Russification of schools of all kinds, of the press and of book publishing, was 
best carried out by the Ukrainians . 45 Secondly, only Ukrainians could fully 
appreciate the shock felt at their republic’s exclusion from participation in the 
Helsinki Conference and from the signing of the Helsinki Final Act, while a 
number of European mini- and micro-states such as Liechtenstein and San 
Marino were fully represented . 46 In general, it would seem that discussions 
about Ukrainian political self-determination, about the exact present and future 
political status of Ukraine might eventually have led to differences of opinion 
had the Ukrainian dissidents tried to work within the Moscow Helsinki Group 
exclusively and had they not set up a group of their own almost from the begin- 

Acting within the Soviet constitution and according to their interpretation of 
the Helsinki Accords, the members of the Moscow Group did not formally 
even touch upon the sensitive question of an eventual secession of individual 
republics — the suppression of individual and of some group rights (the rights of 
believers, the right of citizens to emigrate, and the right of Crimean Tatars to 
repatriation) was deemed controversial enough. It also seems that the existence 
of independent but less experienced national Helsinki Groups served the 
better-established Moscow Group as a kind of buffer against the authorities: 
any unreasonably radical statement originating in Kiev or in Tiflis could be 
plausibly disowned. On the other hand, it would also appear that informally 
members of the Moscow Group — with the obvious exception of General 
Hryhorenko — tended to be less positive and more reserved on the question of 
eventual independence for Ukraine than on the question of the independence of 
Lithuania and the other two Baltic countries. It appears to one student that in 


Yaroslav Bilinsky 

the Moscow Group it was tacitly taken for granted that the Balts would opt out 
of the USSR at the very first opportunity, whereas one could not be so sure 
about the Ukrainians. One tended, therefore, to evade the problem by saying 
that it was one to be solved by the Ukrainians themselves. This ambivalence 
about the political future of Ukraine within the majority of the Moscow Group 
was another good reason for establishing a separate Helsinki Group in Kiev. 47 

Lyudmilla Alexeyeva has explained the attitude of the Moscow Helsinki 
Group to Ukrainian political aspirations as follows: 

The Moscow Helsinki Group, being an organization engaged in the defence of 
rights, unconditionally defends the constitutional right of every Union republic to 
determine what its status as a state should be, and Ukraine, obviously, is no ex- 
ception. We have defended and will continue to defend the right of everyone to 
express himself and act in accordance with those constitutional guarantees. Not 
being a political organization, the Moscow Helsinki Group did not express an 
opinion, nor should it have, either for or against Ukraine’s secession, and not only 
Ukraine’s but that of any one of the Union republics as well. We feel that the 
determination of the statehood status of any given republic is the sovereign right 
of its people. Ukrainians and only Ukrainians, and no one else, should decide the 
fate of Ukraine. We feel that interference from Moscow in resolving that prob- 
lem — not only on the government level but on the public level as well — would be 
tactless 4 . 8 

In my judgment at least, this does not refute our finding about the ambivalence 
that a majority of the Moscow Group had about the possibility of an indepen- 
dent Ukraine. 

But as in the case of Academician Sakharov, reservations about the political 
future of Ukraine did not prevent the Moscow Helsinki Group as a whole or its 
individual members from vigorously defending Ukrainian activists who were 
being persecuted by the regime, irrespective of their ideologies. Thus, for 
instance, on 14 September 1979 the Moscow Group issued, over the signatures 
of Elena Bonner, Sofia Kalistratova, Malva Landa, Viktor Nekipelov, Tatiana 
Osipova, and Iurii Iarym- Agaev, its Document no. 102 entitled “The Events in 
Ukraine: Criminal Terror [Unleashed] Against the Human Rights Movement 
( pravozashchitnogo dvizheniia ).” Comparing the present repressions with the 
arrests of young Ukrainian intellectuals in 1965 and 1972, the document reads: 

It seems as if the year 1979-80 is turning into the very same squall of total 
repression. It appears that the authorities have set themselves the goal of total 
suppression of national and legal free thinking ( svobodomysliia ) in Ukraine. 
[Emphasis added] 49 

In November 1979 the indefatigable Malva Landa fired off as many as three 
protests defending three Ukrainian dissenters: Halyna Tomivna Didyk, Iurii 
Badzio, and Mykola Horbal. 50 Whereas Badzio and Horbal belong to the new 
liberal generation of dissenters, the late Ms. Didyk (then sixty-seven years old) 

Political Relations Between Russians and Ukrainians 


had been a high officer of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UP A), which had 
once been linked to the extreme nationalist Organization of Ukrainian 
Nationalists (OUN). Since their human rights were being attacked, Landa came 
to the defence of all of them, without regard to ideology, as Sakharov had once 
defended Valentyn Moroz. 

To sum up, co-operation between the Moscow and the Ukrainian Helsinki 
Groups was limited. The main reason for this was that the regime promptly 
arrested or exiled the leading members of both groups. Playing the devil’s 
advocate, however, I would say that there would have been limitations on their 
mutual ties even without arrests: the differences on political questions — 
specifically those relating to the status of Ukraine — would have surfaced sooner 
or later. Nevertheless, there existed a truly amazing amount of co-operation in 
defending both the “national” (cultural?) and individual (or civil) rights of 
persecuted Ukrainians. This furnishes a solid base for wider political co- 
operation in the future. 

Also in the liberal-democratic centre we find as early as 1969 the 
remarkable “Programme of the Democratic Movement of the Soviet Union,” 
which had been anonymously signed by “The Democrats of Russia, Ukraine, 
and the Baltic States” ( Pribaltiki ). The nationality question (Section 3) occupies 
four pages out of a total of thirty-nine. The “Democrats” boldly state their two 

1 . The Soviet Union is a forcible union of peoples around the Great Russian 
national core. 

2. The present authority of the Russian state over the peoples and their lands has 
been acquired during 500 years of external expansion, beginning at the end of 
the fifteenth century [the rule of Ivan III]. 51 

In their extensive analysis they touch upon such subjects as the persecution of 
Balts and Ukrainians for “nationalism,” 52 economic exploitation of the 
economically developed republics (Ukraine, Belorussia, the Baltic states) for 
the benefit of the underdeveloped areas of Siberia, the Far North, the Far East, 
etc.; 53 the artificially induced immigation of outsiders (“into the non-Russian 
republics there is being poured a large percentage of outsiders [prishlogo 
naseleniia ], i.e., in fact there is being introduced a foreign garrison composed 
of civilians [inorodnyi grazhdanskii garnizon];” 54 and the compact ethnic 
minorities living outside their republics (for instance, Ukrainians living outside 
the Ukrainian SSR) who have no schools in their own language. 55 The two most 
important broad aims of the “Democrats” in the field of inter-ethnic relations 

3. The Russian progressive intelligentsia understand and take account of [the 
fact] that without freedom of nations there cannot be individual freedom or 
full democratization of society. 

The national-liberation movement of the peoples of the USSR shall [ dolzhno ] 

4 . 


Yaroslav Bilinsky 

act in full solidarity with and complement the Russian [movement] for 
political freedoms, for the democratization of society. 56 

K. Volny (a pseudonym) put it even more clearly: 

Nationalist movements among the peoples of the USSR are natural and valuable 

allies of the democrats, for democracy is the best condition for genuine self- 

determination and the basis of the free organization of one’s own national way of 

life. Hence the internationalism of the movement. 57 

Very noteworthy also are the seven detailed goals of the “Democratic 
Movement” on the nationality question, as follows: 

5. The political self-determination of nations by means of an all-national 
balloting [referendum] with the participation of a supervisory commission of 
the UN. 

6. The offer of cultural or economic autonomy to nations that have chosen not to 
secede from the Union of Democratic Republics. 

7. The solution of territorial questions only with the help of an arbitration 
commission of the UN. 

8. The restitution of all moral, cultural, territorial, and material losses of the 
nationalities incurred under great-power hegemony. 

9. The right of each small people to restrict the number of foreigners according 
to a norm acceptable for its ethnic existence. 

10. Non-interference of the Union of Democratic Republics in the domestic affairs 
of the nations that have seceded. 

11. Friendship, co-operation and mutual respect of the seceded nations and the 
Union of Democratic Republics within the framework of the UN 58 

This interesting programme had, alas, one serious drawback: its authors 
refused to go public, and thus it was at first impossible to tell how many people 
and of what calibre were behind the “Democratic Movement of the Soviet 
Union.” (Volny’s claim that the Movement comprised 270,000 members, in- 
cluding 20,000 active leaders, should be taken with more than a grain of salt.) 59 
According to Dr. Albert Boiter, formerly of Radio Liberty, the KGB succeeded 
in arresting the core group of Democratic Movement activists in December 
1974 — January 1975. They turned out to be five: Sergei Soldatov, Kaliu 
Myattick, Matti Kiirend, Arvo Varato, and Artem Iuskevych. “[Although] of 
different ethnic origins, all five were bom in Estonia in the [1930s], all were 
from the technical intelligentsia (four engineers and a medical doctor), and all 
resided in Tallinn,” writes Boiter. 60 To add to the confusion, all five regarded 
themselves simultaneously as members of the Estonian Democratic Movement. 
Soldatov, an engineer, was a Russian; Iuskevych (or, as sometimes spelled, 
Iushkevych), who died in Tallinn on 28 January 1982, was a Ukrainian; 61 the 
other three were probably Estonians. In any case, Iuskevych was not well 
known among among Ukrainian dissidents. It is true, however, that, while in 
exile in 1977, the late Vasyl Stus, a leading Ukrainian poet and literary scholar, 

Political Relations Between Russians and Ukrainians 


did support the imprisoned Soldatov’s claim to become the “ideological 
secretary” of the Estonian Democratic Movement. 62 To sum up, the ideas of the 
Democratic Movement are interesting, but the Movement itself may consist of 
a relatively narrow circle of dissidents, with Iuskevych and Stus being its only 
clearly identifiable links to Ukraine. 

It was also in 1969 that two remarkable treatises were published by two 
Russian dissidents who appear to straddle the liberal and (Russian) nationalist 
social philosophies (or super-ideologies): the late Andrei Amalrik and an 
intellectual writing under the pseudonym of V. Gorsky. Both predict the 
inevitable break-up of the Soviet empire. As far as I can tell, Amalrik’ s essay 
Will the Soviet Union Survive Until 19841, which had been written between 
April and June 1969, preceded that of Gorsky, “Russian Messianism and the 
New National Consciousness.” Amalrik predicts that the Soviet Union will drift 
into a long-drawn-out war with the People’s Republic of China. Under 
prolonged stress, first the East European communist countries will break loose, 
then some of the Union Republics (the Baltic, the Caucasus, and Ukraine will 
experience intensified anti-Russian nationalism, then Central Asia and the 
regions along the Volga). 63 Most likely, according to Amalrik, “the unavoidable 
‘de-imperialization’ will take place in an extremely painful way,” with power 
passing into the hands of extremist elements. 64 But Amalrik does not rule out a 
peaceful transition (as desired by “The Democratic Movement of the Soviet 

Gorsky’s vision is more general; he even refuses to speculate on precisely 
what might touch off the disintegrative process: 

The communist regime, which attained external unity by means of military- 
political intervention and terror, only aggravated the old sins. In so doing, it 
predestined the inevitability of catastrophe for Russia. For the processes of 
national consciousness and the national movement for independence, squeezed by 
the grip of Soviet imperialism and chased into the underground, are those active 
centrifugal forces which, when freed, will inevitably lead to the collapse of the 
Soviet empire. Not only the satellite nations but the Baltic countries, Ukraine, the 
Caucasus, and the peoples of Central Asia will, without fail, demand their right to 
break away and depart from the notorious “indissoluble union” . . . [Emphasis 
added] 65 

The importance of both Amalrik’ s and Gorsky’s works for our topic is that 
two leading Russian intellectuals envisaged a possible secession of Ukraine as 
early as 1969. But with Amalrik having suffered an untimely death and Gorsky 
not having revealed his true identity, any more concrete follow-up questions 
from the Russian as well as the Ukrainian side, alas, have to wait. 

Turning now to representatives of what Amalrik called the social-religious 
and neo-Slavophile ideologies, both of them essentially under the social 
philosophy of Russian nationalism, whom Roman Szporluk, in turn, has called 
the “culturalists” 66 and John B. Dunlop — vozrozhdentsy, 61 1 would like to make 


Yaroslav Bilinsky 

a few general and possibly controversial comments. The various kinds of 
Russian nationalists — I am not using the term in a pejorative sense, which is 
common, paradoxically, to both Soviet official and American popular 
sources — are exceedingly important in that they appear to have deep roots in 
Soviet society, among the masses as well as the educated elite. Their roots may 
reach even deeper than those of the liberal humanitarian and democrat 
Academician Sakharov. Furthermore, at least some of the tenets of Russian 
nationalism were favoured by Brezhnev’s communist regime. At the same time, 
by and large, on the Ukrainian question, the Russian nationalists tend to be very 
conservative. They will make concessions only to cultural aspirations, but 
remain somewhat insensitive to Ukrainian political goals and interests. I 
sincerely hope that ultimately Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn will prove a 
glorious exception to that rule. A union between Russian nationalism and 
political, especially imperial, conservatism was perhaps to be expected, but in 
the long run such a tie may be a tragedy as much — if not even more — for the 
Russian nation itself than for the Ukrainians. 

Stated briefly, in chronological order, members of the All-Russian Social 
Christian Union for the Liberation of the People, of 1964-7, claimed to speak 
on behalf of all nationalities of Great Russia [Velikoi Rossii ]. If the monarchist 
Evgenii A. Vagin accurately represents the Union leaders, his group was “cate- 
gorically against breaking up the union of Russia, Belorussia and Ukraine.” 68 
At the same time, Vagin “might be willing to grant self-determination” to 
formerly Polish, Catholic Western Ukraine, and he also seems to be agreeable 
to giving Eastern Ukraine “full autonomy, including independence in con- 
ducting [its] foreign affairs [sic]” 69 

The position of the All-Russian Social Christian Union on the Ukrainian 
question may have influenced the concepts of such former Union members as 
Vladimir Osipov and even such non-members as Solzhenitsyn. Osipov 
considers Ukrainians and Belorussians to be Russian. Although, in general, 
Osipov appears fairly liberal (the non-Russians in the Russian-led multi- 
national state might be allowed cultural autonomy), the question should be 
asked whether this would apply to the Ukrainians. 70 

Next in chronological, though perhaps not in rational order, we find the 
anonymous “ Slovo natsii ” of 1970 [The Nation Speaks or A Manifesto to the 
Nation — both these translations make sense]. The “Russian Patriots,” in whose 
name the pamphlet was written, evidently attack “The Programme of the 
Democratic Movement of the Soviet Union,” particularly the latter’s section on 
the nationality question. “Russia is one and indivisible” is the “Russian 
Patriots’” forthright battle-cry. 71 Their particular ire is reserved for the Belo- 
russians and, above all, the Ukrainians. The latter have allegedly won a 
disproportionate influence in all-Union Party politics. At one time the 
Ukrainians had been considered only as part of the Russian people. Now they 
fancy themselves a separate people, and their vociferous nationalists even shout 

Political Relations Between Russians and Ukrainians 


about separation from Russia. Such an attempt is declared to be doomed to 
failure because it is utterly absurd. “Within the territory of Ukraine there live 
seven million Russians and probably an equal number of Russified Ukrainians, 
so that it would have been more correct to transfer entire provinces to 
Russia.” 72 

The following paragraph is reproduced in toto, both as a counterweight to 
the text from the Programme of the Democratic Movement and in order to 
convey the stridently self-confident tone of the Russian Patriots’ Manifesto: 

As you know, there exists in Ukraine a strong nationalist movement. But the aims 
it sets itself are utterly unreal. Were the question of Ukraine’s independent exist- 
ence really to arise, there would inevitably have to be a review of its boundaries. 
Ukraine would have to concede: (a) the Crimea; (b) the oblasti of Kharkov, 
Donetsk, Lugansk and Zaporozhe, which have a predominantly Russian 
population; (c) the oblasti of Odessa, Nikolaevsk, Kherson, Dnepropetrovsk, and 
Sumi, whose population has become Russified to a considerable extent and which 
were opened up during the course of history by the efforts of the Russian state. 
What could the remaining part count upon without an outlet to the sea and with- 
out the basic industrial areas? Let the Ukrainians themselves reflect on that. Let 
them think also of the claims the Poles might lay to the western regions {oblasti), 
the population of which is of pro-Polish disposition. We suggest that the result 
could only be the return of the prodigal son. And as for Ukrainian pretensions to 
the Kuban and the oblasti at the centre of the Chernozem [Black Soil] belt, they 
are nothing short of ridiculous and we disregard them entirely, as we do the 
appetite displayed by foreigners for our territories (by which we mean the so- 
called “Bessarabian question ”). 73 

Incidentally, a reference to Slovo natsii in no. 17 of the Chronicle of Current 
Events, a samizdat journal published by a Russian group that is close to, but not 
identical with, the Sakharov circle, provoked what, to my knowledge, is the 
only recorded polemic between liberal-democratic Ukrainian and Russian 
dissenters. Complained the editors of no. 5 of the Ukrainian Herald, a sister 
publication of the Chronicle: 

The Ukrainian reader has welcomed the appearance of the Chronicle. It is notable 
for its objectivity, extensive coverage, and relative accuracy of information, 
providing a rounded picture of the political trials unknown to the majority of 
people in the USSR. 

However, some have raised their voices to point out, without denying the im- 
portance of the Chronicle, that it has rather unilaterally and pretentiously assumed 
the stance of a supranational or all-Union journal, when in fact it is the product of 
Russian (and possibly, in part, Jewish) circles. It has also been noted that the 
sparse informational reports from the republics are worked in as though they were 
supplementary to the quite extensive description of events in Russia, mostly 
Moscow — this in and of itself creating a false impression of the situation in the 


Yaroslav Bilinsky 

It is very hard to obtain information on the attitude toward the national ques- 
tion held by the various underground groups, organizations, and “parties” that 
have arisen in recent years in Russia . . . The impression obtained is that the 
participants in these groups, while aiming at very radical changes in many spheres 
of social life, wished — to one degree or another — to preserve the status quo on 
the national question. 

Along with organizations and groups that raise the question of democratic 
transformations in the USSR, others have appeared that criticize the government 
and the “liberals” from reactionary, openly chauvinist positions, seeking even a 
formal liquidation of the USSR and the creation of a military-democratic unitary 
state “of all the Russias.” Let us quote the brief description of one such document 
of Russian samizdat given by the Chronicle in its issue no. 17, “Message to the 
Nation.” 74 

The criticism of the Ukrainian Herald was exaggerated; its reference to the “in 
part, Jewish” circles was inappropriate; and, in any case, the last word rested 
with the Moscow Chronicle. Exhibiting a superb sense of historical 
responsibility it reprinted in its no. 22 the polemical editorial from no. 5 of the 
Ukrainian Herald and thereby saved it from oblivion (no legible copies of that 
particular issue reached the West, the only issue known to be lost). 

In 1971, within one year of the publication in samizdat of Slovo natsii , there 
appeared the Russian nationalist journal Veche, which was edited, except for 
the last issue, by Osipov. Veche did not take an explicit stand on the Ukrainian 
question, but it published a highly laudatory article on the tsarist Russian 
General Skobelev, who had conquered Central Asia, 75 and also serialized a 
glorification of the Slavophiles by Russian architect M. Antonov. 76 Antonov is 
an admirer of Tsar Nicholas I; he also happens to be a close associate of 
fellow-architect A. Fetisov, who venerates both Stalin and Hitler and who 
considers that Siniavsky and Daniel should have been shot. 77 

This brings me to the older writings of Solzhenitsyn in which the world- 
famous Russian author has obliquely touched upon the Ukrainian question: his 
“Letter to the Soviet Leaders” of September 1973; 78 his follow-up essay 
“Repentance and Self— Limitation in the Life of Nations” of November 1973; 79 
and his rebuttal to Sakharov’s critique of the “Letter,” which was published in 
{Continent} 0 Solzhenitsyn’s position on Ukrainian political aspirations appears 
to have remained unchanged, but the degree of his disclosure of that position 
has slightly, but importantly, varied. 

Solzhenitsyn’s footnote at the very end of his section on the “Russian North- 
East” in the “Letter” is well known: 

Such a relocation [of the centre of state attention and state activity to the North- 
East] would oblige us [ dolzhno ], sooner or later, to withdraw our protective 
surveillance of Eastern Europe. Nor can there be any question of any peripheral 
nation being forcibly kept within the bounds of our country. 81 

Not so well known is the fact that in an earlier version of the “Letter,” possibly 

Political Relations Between Russians and Ukrainians 


in the original version submitted to Brezhnev, Solzhenitsyn had been a bit more 
concrete and more positive from the viewpoint of non-Russian nations — but 
with the exception of Ukrainians. He had written: 

Of course, such a shift must mean, sooner or later, lifting our trusteeship from 
Eastern Europe, the Baltic republics, Transcaucasia, Central Asia, and possibly 
even from parts of present-day Ukraine. Nor can there be any question of our 
forcibly keeping any peripheral nation within the borders of our country. 
[Emphasis added ] 82 

Whoever is familiar with the ideas of Vagin, of the All-Russian Social 
Christian Union for the Liberation of the People, and with Slovo natsii cannot 
help noticing that in his first version Solzhenitsyn is apparently considering 
detaching some “Russian” or “Russified” parts of today’s Ukrainian SSR and 
adding them to the RSFSR. Paradoxically, the second, more general version 
appears to allow for the possibility of leaving the territories of all seceding 
republics intact. Has Solzhenitsyn changed his view on the proper territory of a 
Ukrainian state, or has he merely drawn the veil of generalities over a 
premature disclosure of concrete territorial plans? I believe the latter is the case, 
and Roy Medvedev was not too far off the mark when he bluntly criticized 

The fate of other nationalities of the Soviet Union does not worry Solzhenitsyn 
much. As may be noted from one of his comments, he would think it desirable to 
separate the “border nations” from the USSR, with the exception of Ukraine and 
Belorussia. [Emphasis added ] 83 

A reading of the “Letter” (in its final version) shows two fairly sympathetic 
references to the Ukraine, but from his essay on repentance and his reply to 
Sakharov’s critique it would appear that Solzhenitsyn does not draw a sharp 
distinction between the Russian and Ukrainian peoples and that he regards the 
history of Ukraine as history of Russia . 84 He frequently refers to the suffering 
of both the Russian and the Ukrainian peoples . 85 There is a very simple expla- 
nation for this: Solzhenitsyn is a Russian whose maternal grandfather was a 
Ukrainian and whose maternal grandmother was “almost entirely of Ukrainian 
origin .” 86 There is also in Solzhenitsyn a tendency toward all-embracing, 
almost mystical constructs. But whatever the explanation, at least so far, 
Solzhenitsyn has not been able to disentangle the different political aspirations 
of the Ukrainians from those of the Russians. 

This is not to say that in his writings Solzhenitsyn is irrevocably hostile 
toward Ukrainians as such. On the contrary, his innate feelings of sympathy or, 
even more, his blood ties, will probably lead him to be tolerant of Ukrainian 
cultural aspirations. It is also true that repeatedly Solzhenitsyn has proved his 
sympathies toward Ukrainians by having the Solzhenitsyn Fund — officially 
known as the Russian Common Fund — support Soviet prisoners of conscience 
of many nationalities, including many Ukrainians. One hopes that this will lead 


Yaroslav Bilinsky 

Solzhenitsyn to revise the political conception that he still seems to share with 
Vagin and others, viz., that of Great Russia, of Belorussians and Ukrainians 
being fundamentally only parts of one big Russian people. 

To sum up our rapid survey of dissenters’ attitudes on Russo-Ukrainian 
collaboration: there appears to be much hope in that such a cooperation has 
become a reality within the Helsinki movement, which in turn is linked with 
the liberal-democratic Sakharov circle. But much has still to be accomplished. 
Not unexpectedly, a political dialogue with conservative Russian nationalism 
has just begun. So far, it has stressed differences rather than such similarities as 
the common strong hostility of many Russian and Ukrainian nationalists to the 
communist regime, with its anti-religious campaigns and its terrible agricultural 

A safer and possibly wiser course — does not the Hegelian owl always fly 
after the day is over? — would have been to break off here, with a sharp look 
into the past and an expression of somewhat hazy but pious hopes for the 
future. But instead of playing it safe, I have promised to touch on important and 
sensitive questions that may or may not have been explored by the dissenters. 
For reasons of space, I propose to do this without overly elaborate docu- 
mentation. These are meant to be points for discussion, not chapters in a 
treatise on Russo-Ukrainian relations! A participant in the conference has called 
the last section “futuristic” — so be it. I shall also try to combine brevity with a 
lack of dogmatism — the two go together often — but it is not up to me to judge 
my success. 

Questions for the 1980s and Beyond : Both Old 
and New 

Basic premise of right to independence 

It would appear to me that in order to be fruitful any dialogue between 
Russians and Ukrainians should start from the basic premise that both the 
Russian and the Ukrainian peoples have the right to independence, not just to 
somewhat vague “self-determination.” 87 

A strong argument can be made that the Ukrainian people determined their 
fate in 1917 and that the establishment of a formally independent Ukrainian 
SSR in December 1917 constitutes Lenin’s recognition of that fact, as does the 
retention of the secession clause in all three constitutions of the USSR, includ- 
ing the latest of 1977, and in all the constitutions of the Ukrainian SSR. The 
efforts of Stalin, Khrushchev, and Brezhnev effectively to undermine the 
formal sovereignty (autonomy, really) of Ukraine by extreme centralization 
have created unnecessary tensions. Those tensions have harmed the Ukrainians, 
but also the Russians, by making the latter partners in an enterprise of dubious 
political wisdom, namely, the restoration of the Russian Empire more than two 

Political Relations Between Russians and Ukrainians 


generations after its fall. 

It seems to me that political prudence would dictate that, at a minimum, 
Ukrainians should retain all the rights promised them in the Soviet constitution 
and should be allowed to become the dominant nation within the boundaries of 
today’s Ukrainian SSR. Any attempt to restrict Ukraine to a tiny enclave of so- 
called genuinely Ukrainian provinces — the Kiev-Poltava rump state — cannot 
serve as basis for discussion between Russians and Ukrainians. 

Besides territorial integrity of the Ukrainian republic, the premise of political 
independence would also imply that the modalities in which the Ukrainians 
would exercise their national will not be spelled out in excessively restrictive 
detail, as has, for instance, been done in the “Programme of the Democratic 
Movement of the USSR,” or in Medvedev’s On Socialist Democracy. Should 
the communist regime continue in force in the last two decades of this century 
and beyond — the critical twelfth generation of Ukrainians since the Pereiaslav 
Treaty with Russia — the Ukrainian Party leaders will have their hands full 
merely to limit the damage brought about by the dismissals of Ukrainians from 
high Party posts — the Secretariat and the Politburo — from 1965 to 1977, 88 by 
the relative neglect of Ukrainian economic interests, by the heavy-handed 
Russification drive, and, last but not least, by the costly policy of expansionism 
abroad. The modality of politics will then be more of the same: limited public 
demands for more investment, jockeying for better positions, and lobbying 
behind the scenes in the Party and government offices in the Kremlin. Possibly 
the Ukrainians could strike a deal with those Russian leaders who are not 
enamoured of the prospect of building up Siberia at the cost of neglecting the 
industry of European Russia. 

On the other hand, in any kind of major crisis, which might be set off by a 
spreading war in the Middle East, or, more likely, one over control of Europe, a 
provisional Ukrainian republican government — probably supported by sections 
of the Soviet armed forces — will have to make quick decisions on whether to 
continue to work together with Russia in the role of junior partner on the same 
basis as previously (strict subordination) or on the East European, possibly 
even the Polish model (that is, ranging from dependence in foreign affairs but 
genuine autonomy in internal policy-making — the model of present-day 
Hungary — all the way to loosening foreign ties and insubordination in internal 
policy — the Polish model prior to the imposition of martial law on 13 
December 1981). Or the provisional Ukrainian government may opt for com- 
plete and immediate independence. It is, of course, possible that Russian 
nationalists, especially if they be guided by the advice of so-called Russian 
Patriots of Slovo natsii, would make it their immediate task to try to crush the 
Ukrainian “insurrection” by a military campaign against Kiev, which would 
necessitate the immediate establishment of an efficient and formidable, really a 
Stalinist dictatorship in Moscow. I do not believe that they would succeed, at 
least not so easily as they did in 1917-20. Nor do I believe that the Russian 


Yaroslav Bilinsky 

people would welcome another Stalin, even though he be dressed in the 
uniform of Nicholas II and able to speak Russian without an accent. 

It is devoutly to be wished that eventually, after due deliberation, the quick 
decision of the provisional Ukrainian government be either endorsed or rejected 
by the people of Ukraine, who will express their will freely. For that reason the 
development of the democratic human-rights movement in Ukraine and its co- 
operation with Russian democrats is of capital importance: for the first time 
since the early twentieth century Russian and Ukrainian liberals have worked 
together as political partners rather than enemies. However, for the sake of 
long-term Russo-Ukrainian political co-operation — within an East Slavic 
confederation or, more likely, as independent countries — Russian liberals such 
as the authors of the Programme of the Democratic Movement and implicitly 
Sakharov, too, ought not to insist on the technical device of a plebiscite. 

First of all, the very question of who should vote in such a plebiscite is 
bound to engender very acrimonious disputes (Should recent Russian immi- 
grants to Ukraine vote? What about those Ukrainians who, in one way or an- 
other, have been compelled to leave Ukraine and express a desire to return to 
their homeland? What about Ukrainian soldiers, many of whom are stationed in 
the Soviet Far East? What about the Crimean Tatars, who definitely should be 
allowed to return to the Crimea and to settle down before a plebiscite is held?). 
Secondly, for similar reasons, since World War II plebiscites have been pretty 
much discredited in theory and practice. 89 The last plebiscite involving an entire 
European people was held on 13 August 1905, when Norway broke the old 
dynastic union with Sweden and became an independent state. The populations 
involved were relatively small, and the plebiscite seems merely to have 
confirmed the well-known desire of the Norwegian people to become 
independent and to have served as a face-saving device for Sweden. 90 But how 
would one conduct a plebiscite in a hotly disputed territory the size of France, 
with a population of some fifty million?* 

What the people of Ukraine ultimately decide is a matter of passionately 
held beliefs and difficult rational judgment. A union that has lasted for eleven 
generations should not be rejected lightly, as if out of hand. But when 325 
years after Pereiaslav a trained Ukrainian philologist has to set about writing a 
1,400-page manuscript presenting reasons why his nation has “The Right to 
Live,” and when his work is “stolen” during a secret search of his apartment 
and destroyed before publication, when he himself is later sentenced to seven 
years of strict-regime labour camp and five years of exile — i.e., to twelve years 
of legal punishment after six years of self-inflicted punishment for writing out 
(in longhand!) such a monstrously long plea for national autonomy, not even 
independence — then a rational conclusion might perhaps be that the marriage 

* In his comments. Professor John A. Armstrong agreed with the writer that holding a 
plebiscite in Ukraine would be inappropriate. 

Political Relations Between Russians and Ukrainians 


concluded at Pereiaslav has not worked out and that a divorce or, at least, a 
temporary separation would be indicated for the welfare of both parties. 91 

Separation and divorce would also seem the only rational way out when a 
Russian nationalist painter who has been painting Pope John XXIII, Nicholas 
II, Solzhenitsyn, and Stalin — Ilia Glazunov — at the price of withholding some 
of his most controversial works, which, however, remain intact and are well 
known through samizdat reproductions — can go from exhibition to exhibition 
(Moscow, Leningrad, West Berlin — three times in West Berlin!), can collect 
rapturous comments from hundreds of thousands of patriotic Russian visitors, 
and reap one official honour after another (“People’s Artist of the RSFSR,” 
1979; “People’s Artist of the Soviet Union,” 1980), while a group of four 
Ukrainian artists who in 1964 produced an unorthodox stained glass window 
depicting an angry Taras Shevchenko had their work smashed and were 
viciously persecuted (two, Liudmyla Semykina and Halyna Sevriuk, were 
expelled from the Artists’ Union of Ukraine; the third, Panas Zalyvakha, was 
arrested in 1965 and sentenced to five years of strict-regime camps; the fourth, 
Alla Horska, was first expelled from the Artists’ Union and then, on 28 
November 1970, killed under mysterious circumstances) 92 

Restriction on Russian immigration into Ukraine and 
on Ukrainian outmigration from that republic 

In principle, free movement of persons is a human right which ought to be 
zealously defended. But when much of the movement is deliberately 
manipulated to help strengthen one nationality over another, perhaps the time 
has come for the stronger group to practice self-limitation and to curb its 
politically destabilizing Wanderlust. Taking only very rough indicators, we 
notice that from 1959 to 1979 the number of self-declared Ukrainians in the 
Ukrainian SSR increased from 32.2 million in 1959 to 36.5 million in 1979, 
i.e., by 4.3 million or 13.5 per cent overall, whereas self-declared Russians in 
Ukraine increased from 7.1 million in 1959 to 10.5 million in 1979 (3.3 million 
or 47.7 per cent). 93 Closer analysis would also show that Russians in Ukraine 
are more urbanized and better educated than the Ukrainians, and curiously 
enough it also shows that Ukrainians in Russia are more urbanized and better 
educated than Ukrainians in Ukraine. 94 Has by any chance the officially 
inspired exchange of cadres anything to do with channelling educated Russians 
into Ukraine and educated Ukrainians out of Ukraine? How much of the 
extraordinarily high growth of Russians in Ukraine (while from 1959-79 the 
Russian minority in Ukraine grew by 47.7 per cent, Russians in the USSR as a 
whole increased only by 20.4 per cent) is due to the natural increase of long- 
time Russian residents in Ukraine, how much to migration, and how much to 
possible assimilation of Ukrainians to Russians (part of which may be due to 
assimilation of children of mixed Russo-Ukrainian marriages)? 95 Whatever 


Yaroslav Bilinsky 

objective figures the demographers can and will come up with, the political fact 
is that Ukrainian dissidents do suspect that deliberate encouragement of 
population exchange between Russia and Ukraine does take place, which can- 
not but embitter Russo-Ukrainian relations. 96 Such a population exchange 
makes sense only if it is believed that it is possible to disperse and simultane- 
ously Russify a sufficient number of Ukrainians to break their will to resist. 
This is a dangerous assumption, given the fact that officially self-declared 
Ukrainians in the Soviet Union number as many as 42.3 million and latent and 
imperfectly Russified Ukrainians may number several million more. 

Russification of Ukrainians within and outside Ukraine 

The natural spread of the knowledge of Russian, the lingua franca of the 
empire, is one thing, but the insistent introduction of Russian into Ukrainian 
kindergartens and the first grades of Ukrainian elementary schools is something 
altogether different. At a time when Ukrainians living in Russia are not allowed 
to obtain their elementary and secondary education in Ukrainian, even though 
the Ukrainian emigrants might be living in a compact mass, Russians living in 
Ukraine attend numerous Russian-language schools that tend, moreover, to be 
better equipped and staffed; they have Russian theatres, newspapers, and simi- 
lar privileges. 97 There are Ukrainians, of course, who prefer to give a Russian- 
language education to their offspring in order to help them make careers in the 
increasingly Russian-dominated Party and governmental apparatuses. The point 
nevertheless stands that the official pressure to learn Russian in the last two 
decades has been so heavy-handed as to provoke Ukrainian opposition and 
probably discredit for a long time the natural, as opposed to the forcible, spread 
of the Russian language. Since about 1978 the Russification policy has not only 
been heavy-handed, but has become positively ludicrous, for instance, in its 
attempt to train “kindergarten linguists” in Ukraine. 98 

Moreover, so tense and so foul is the officially supported climate of 
Russification in Ukraine that a Ukrainian intellectual and writer fluent in ten 
languages is not permitted to address a shopgirl in Ukrainian in Kiev, the 
capital of the Ukrainian republic! Another customer who spoke Russian angrily 
reprimanded him: 

There, listen to him talking! You, fellow, are not in Lvov to be speaking that 

language ! 99 

If a Russian from Kiev allowed himself such an outburst, it would be bad 
enough; if it had been a Russified Ukrainian, this would have been ten times 
worse. I think that even without citing the usual statistics on Ukrainian-lan- 
guage schools in Ukraine — insofar as they are not state secrets — and data on 
Ukrainian-language books, etc., I have proved the point that such official 
policies as teaching kindergarteners the differences between Russian and 
Ukrainian grammar and vocabulary and such attitudes as calling for Russian 

Political Relations Between Russians and Ukrainians 


only in the capital of Ukraine are a disgrace to the great Russian language and 
culture and a serious impediment to Russo-Ukrainian cooperation. I am 
delighted that the declaration of democratic Russian and Ukrainian emigres of 
30 September 1979 recognized Russification as a danger to the Ukrainian 
people and pledged every effort to fight it. 100 I think, however, that the declara- 
tion did not go far enough: such brutal policies may or may not help to 
denationalize the Ukrainians, but they certainly corrupt the Russians them- 

Economic interests, mutual and competitive 

It would seem to me that once such major obstacles to Russo-Ukrainian co- 
operation as non-recognition of the Ukrainians’ right to independence, 
population exchanges designed to undercut the strength of Ukrainians in their 
republic, and Russification at any cost were removed, the Ukrainian and 
Russian political leaders would be able to sit down together and discuss those 
economic interests which unite them as well as those which are divisive. For 
instance, Ukraine of whatever political status — semi-autonomous, autonomous, 
or independent — would be able to produce more food and sell it to European 
Russia and some East European countries, and the Russians would not have to 
invest major sums in the economically marginal lands of the Russian non- 
black-earth zone. Furthermore, with many investments it might still be possible 
to extract substantial coal and some natural gas in Ukraine instead of sinking 
huge sums into Western Siberial oil fields with their tremendous overhead 
expenses. In the fuel sector, Ukrainian interests might be wholly compatible 
with those of European Russia, though, of course, they will clash sharply with 
those proposed by the “Siberia first, at any price” school. In foreign policy and 
international economic relations Ukraine might serve both as a buffer and also, 
when necessary, as a bridge between Russia and Poland. But first those three 
major impediments must be removed. Secondly, Russo-Ukrainian relations will 
be much more harmonious if the autonomous or independent Ukrainian 
republic is wise in its internal policy. Here the shoe will be, so to speak, on the 
other foot. 

Necessity of wise internal policy toward Russian, 

Jewish, and Crimean Tatar national minorities on the 
part of the Ukrainian government 

In the twentieth century, a Ukraine only for ethnic Ukrainians would not be 
in the best interests of the country. The Russian minority in Ukraine is simply 
too large for expulsion. Some — though not all — of those Russians would be 


Yaroslav Bilinsky 

able to trace their arrival in Ukraine back to the eighteenth and nineteenth 
centuries, if not even earlier. Ukraine has also contained a sizeable Jewish 
minority (it was 634,000 in 1979). The exact number of Crimean Tatars is 
impossible to ascertain (the official numbers according to the 1979 census — 
132,272 — appears small). 101 

As I see it, the Ukrainian government will be morally compelled to reach an 
agreement with the Crimean Tatars on their repatriation to and settlement in 
their ancient homeland, as well as on their political status within the Ukrainian 
republic. Such an agreement is in the vital interests of Ukraine, for no 
politically sensitive person will ever contemplate yielding the Crimea to Russia, 
whether or not this be to the liking of the Russian Patriots from Slovo natsii, 
and in order to keep the Crimea Ukraine must strike an honest bargain with the 
Crimean Tatars. The Crimean Tatars will probably insist on cultural autonomy 
as a bare minimum, and they may also demand the reconstruction of Tatar 
cultural monuments that were brutally razed immediately after the war, when 
the Crimea was part of the RSFSR. In that case the bill ought to be negotiated 
with Moscow.* 

With the Ukrainian Jews relations have considerably improved from what 
they used to be before World War I and in the chaos of the struggle for 
independence in 1917-20. 

The really difficult problem would be relations with the numerous Russian 
minority, some of whom may be politically loyal to Ukraine and some of 
whom regard themselves as defenders of the ancient lands of “Great Russia” 
(Velikoi Rossii ) against the pretensions of “upstart Ukrainian nationalists.” 
Some of the Russians, both loyalists and anti-Ukrainian chauvinists, may also 
have been living in Ukraine for generations, if not centuries, and may always 
have considered that they have been living at home. It would seem to me that 
Ukrainians would be extremely ill-advised to lump all the Russians in Ukraine 
together and declare them national enemies, for many of them may be friends 
who will be urgently needed for the political and economic reconstruction of 
the country. Fortunately, two members of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group do rep- 
resent two major national minorities: Dr. Vladimir Malinkovich, a physician 
and medical researcher by profession, considers himself a Russian, and Yosyf 
Zisels, a television engineer, considers himself a Jew. 

What is needed — and this may, at first sight, seem inconsistent with the 
vociferous Ukrainian protests against Russification, but actually is not — is to 
abandon the somewhat restrictive identification of Ukrainian nationality with 
the Ukrainian language and to think in broader, territorial terms. 102 The fact that 
many ethnic Ukrainians and almost all ethnic Russians in the cities speak 
Russian rather than Ukrainian is not yet a cause for despair as long as they 

* In his comments, Professor John A. Armstrong disagreed with the writer that the 
Crimea should remain a part of a restructured Ukraine. 

Political Relations Between Russians and Ukrainians 


consider themselves Ukrainians (in the territorial sense) and act in the interests 
of the Ukrainian republic rather than those of the RSFSR, a new Great Russia, 
or whatever. Conversely, stories abound among Ukrainian emigres in Canada 
and the United States that some of the best Ukrainian in Ukraine is spoken by 
agents of the KGB out to entrap Ukrainian tourists from the West who are 
depressed over the decline of the Ukrainian language . 103 

In short, Ukrainians should learn to think more in political-territorial and 
less in linguistic -ethnographic terms and be more tolerant of Russians and Jews 
who are really Ukrainian patriots but still prefer to speak Russian. As 
controversial as it may sound, the Russians who stay in Ukraine and who opt 
for Ukrainian citizenship should be given extensive cultural autonomy and 
guaranteed equal access (non-discrimination) in employment, possibly includ- 
ing the highest decision-making posts. The same would apply to the Jews, the 
Crimean Tatars, and any other national minority. Possibly Russian will even be 
used by the republican authorities temporarily as an unofficial second language, 
with Yiddish or Hebrew, if requested, as a third, Tatar as a fourth, etc. All this 
will require a major psychological adjustment, for many Ukrainians — by no 
means all — still identify Ukrainian nationality with the Ukrainian language and 
are instinctive and, above all, indiscriminate Russophobes. 


There is cause for both hope and alarm in the history of contemporary 
Russo-Ukrainian relations and in our bird’s-eye view of outstanding future 
problems. There is cause for hope in that some kind of dialogue and common 
political action has begun in the liberal-democratic circles of dissenters in the 
Soviet Union and among the third wave of the Russian emigration abroad.* 
There is cause for alarm in that most Russian nationalists, even among the 
dissenters, with, I fervently hope, the exception of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 
appear as much concerned about the restoration of the Russian Empire, which 
minimally should include Ukraine and Belorussia as strictly subordinate 
peoples, as they appear to be eager to change the communist regime. Goodness 
alone knows what the ultimate fate of the Russian and Ukrainian nations will 
be, but now is the time to talk the issues over and to act on them as much as 
possible. The Ukrainians have independence to gain; the Russians may have to 
lose an empire if they want to become free. Gorsky may be right when he 

The collapse of the Soviet empire will not be humiliating or unnatural for Russia. 

* In his comments, Roman Szporluk mentioned the existence of a Russian identity 
crisis. He argued that the Russians themselves should work out a number of problems 
with regard to what they consider their national territory as a prerequisite to their devel- 
oping a conception of Russo-Ukrainian relations. 


Yaroslav Bilinsky 

Deprived of her colonies Russia will not lose its political importance. Freed from 
the yearnings for occupation and coercion, it will confront its true problems: the 
building of a free democratic society, religious renaissance, and the creation of a 
national culture. 104 

Gorsky may sound like an optimist, but he is quite far-sighted. 

Postscript: March 1990 

The contribution was written in 1981-82, before the accession of Gorbachev to 
power in March 1985. The author believes that the situation has remained es- 
sentially unchanged, with the possible exception of the “Law of the Ukrainian 
Soviet Socialist Republic on Language in the Ukrainian RSR.” The law was 
passed 28 October 1989 and entered into force 1 January 1990. The full con- 
sequences of that act are not yet clear at the time of writing. 


1. Figures are from the 1979 census. See “Vsesoiuznaia perepis naseleniia,” Vestnik 
statistiki, no. 2 (1980): 24. 

2. The key position of Ukraine in the Soviet empire is stressed by Seweryn Bialer, 
Stalin’s Successors: Leadership, Stability and Change in the Soviet Union (New 
York, 1980), 222ff. and Table 25. Our conclusions, however, differ somewhat 
from Bialer’ s. 

3. L.I. Brezhnev, “O piatidesiatiletii Soiuza Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh 
Respublik,” Pravda, 22 December 1972, 2. 

4. Ibid., 2. 

5. Izvestiia, 31 March 1971, 7. 

6. Brezhnev, “O piatidesiatiletii...,” 3. 

7. Ibid., 3. See also Y. Bilinsky, “The Concept of the Soviet People and its 
Implications for Soviet Nationality Policy,” The Annals of the Ukrainian Academy 
of Arts and Sciences in the U.S. 14, no. 37-38 (1978-1980): 95ff. 

8. “O piatidesiatiletii...,” 3. 

9. Ibid., 2. 

10. For documentation see Michael Rywkin, “Code Words and Catchwords of 
Brezhnev’s Nationality Policy,” Survey 24, no. 3 (Summer 1979): 84ff. and 
Bilinsky, “The Concept of the Soviet People ...” 

11. Pravda, 24 February 1981, 7. 

12. Ibid., 7, immediately following second quotation. 

13. He said: “There are going on (proiskhoaiat ) the flourishing and mutual 
enrichment of national cultures, the formation of the culture of the Soviet 
people — the new social and international community,” ibid., 7. Brezhnev’s 

Political Relations Between Russians and Ukrainians 


reference to the Soviet people was not emphasized, and the entire paragraph, in 
which the quoted sentence was the third from the end, merited only simple 

14. In the early 1960s, when most of the work on the amendment of the constitution 
was done, many of the legal drafting commissions dropped the republics’ right of 
secession and changed the related clauses accordingly. Suddenly, in 1977 word 
came to restore that right, which was done, without, however, readjusting the now 
logically incompatible provisions. See A. Shtromas, “The Legal Position of the 
Soviet Nationalities and Their Territorial Units According to the 1977 
Constitution of the USSR,” Russian Review 37, no. 3 (July 1978): 267ff. See also 
Bilinsky, “The Concept of the Soviet People...,” note 7. Shtromas, a former Soviet 
Lithuanian lawyer, was a member of several legal research institutes that 
participated in the drafting of the new Soviet constitution in the 1960s. 

15. One such confidential follow-up decree, that of the Estonian Party Bureau 
(Minutes no. 105, para. 1 of 19 December 1978) was leaked to the West in Eesti 
Paiievaleht (Sweden), 15 November 1980. See Romuald Misiunas and Rein 
Taagepera, The Baltic States: Years of Dependence 1940-1980 (London and 
Berkeley, 1982). See also the title and brief summary of the decree in the editorial 
“Sovershenstvovat izuchenie i prepodavanie russkogo iazyka,” Russkii iazyk v 
natsionalnoi shkole, no. 1, (1979): 2-5. See also Y. Bilinsky, “Expanding the Use 
of Russian or Russification? Some Critical Thoughts on Russian as a Lingua 
Franca and the ‘Language of Friendship and Cooperation of the Peoples of the 
USSR,’” Russian Review 40, no. 3 (July 1981): 323ff. 

16. Bilinsky, “Expanding the Use of Russian...,” 320ff. 

17. The recent Soviet emphasis on the East Slavic peoples related by blood has been 
noted by Bialer, Stalin’s Successors, 224 and 224n.; by Roman Solchanyk, “The 
Politics of Hematology and Contemporary Soviet Nationality Policy," RL 107/79 
(Radio Liberty Research Bulletin or RLRB) (30 March 1979); and by S. Enders 
Wimbush, “The Russian Nationalist Backlash,” Survey 24, no. 3 (Summer 1979): 
43. Reference should also be made to the classic analysis of the “younger 
brothers” by John A. Armstrong, “The Ethnic Scene in the Soviet Union: The 
View of the Dictatorship,” in Erich Goldhagen, ed., Ethnic Minorities in the 
Soviet Union (New York, 1968), 14-20. 

18. According to the 1979 census, 74.2 per cent of Belorussians gave Belorussian as 
their “native” language, compared with 80.6 per cent in 1970 (see note 1 above). 
In 1972-3, with ethnic Russians constituting approximately one-tenth of the total 
population, 51.4 per cent of all the pupils in the Belorussian SSR attended 
Russian-language schools, but in the Belo- russian cities and towns as many as 
97.6 per cent of the children did so (see K. Kh. Khanazarov, Reshenie natsionalno 
iazykovoi problemy v SSSR [Moscow, 1977], 137 — source courtesy of Professor 
Bohdan Bociurkiw). See, however, Jan Zaprudnik on Belorussian resistance to 
Russification (“Belorussia and the Belorussians,” in Zev Katz et al., eds.. 
Handbook of Major Soviet Nationalities [New York, 1975], 67ff.). 

19. The proportion of self-declared Ukrainians who gave Ukrainian as their “native” 
language decreased from 85.7 per cent in 1970 to 82.8 per cent in 1979. See 
Vestnik statistiki, no. 2 (1980): 24. For related documentation see Y. Bilinsky, 


Yaroslav Bilinsky 

“Expanding the Use of Russian...,” 320, 326, 327n. 

20. Andrei Amalrik, “Ideologies in Soviet Societies,” in Andrei Amalrik, Will the 
Soviet Union Survive Until 1984? (New York, 1981), 179. Originally the essay 
was published in Survey, no. 199 (1976). 

21. On the less well known Kosterin, see Y. Bilinsky, “Russian Dissenters and the 
Nationality Question,” in Ihor Kamenetsky, ed., Nationalism and Human Rights: 
Processes of Modernization in the USSR (Littleton, Colo., 1977), 79. 

22. Among others, by Amalrik, 1 82. 

23. See his portrait by David K. Shipler, “A Wary Soviet Dissident Irritates Friend 
and Foe,” New York Times, 23 February 1979 (source courtesy of Ms. Linda 

24. On 9 November 1973, or eight months after having been sentenced to five years’ 
imprisonment, Ivan Dziuba publicly repudiated his 1965 treatise Internationalism 
or Russification? See M. I. Holubenko’s introduction to Ivan Dzyuba, 
Internationalism or Russification? A Study in the Soviet Nationalities Problem 
(New York, 1974), xxii. 

25. See Roy Medvedev, “Blizhnevostochnyi konflikt i evreiskii vopros v SSSR,” May 
1970, Arkhiv samizdata (henceforth: AS) 496, p. 29, in Sobranie dokumentov 
samizdata (henceforth: SDS), vol. 7 (Munich, n.d.). A long excerpt has been 
translated as “ Samizdat : Jews in the USSR: Document: Soviet Union,” Survey 17, 
no. 2 (Spring 1971) — see p. 196 for citation. Henceforth I will give double 
references to the document. 

26. Ibid., 28/195, 196. See also the vigorously worded article by Alexander J. Motyl, 
“Roy Medvedev: Dissident or Conformist?,” Survey 25, no. 3 (Summer 1980): 80. 

27. See Roy Medvedev, On Soviet Dissent: Interviews with Piero Ostellino (New 
York, 1980), 47; also Motyl, 84. 

28. Roy A. Medvedev, On Socialist Democracy (New York, 1975), 85. 

29. Ibid., 85, 87. See also Motyl, 79. Emphasis added. 

30. See Medvedev, “Blizhnevostochnyi konflikt...,” 30-31/197-8. For more 
detailed discussion and documentation see also Bilinsky, “Russian 
Dissenters . . . ,” 79-80. 

31. Roy Medvedev, “What Awaits Us in the Future? (Regarding A.I. Solzhenitsyn’s 
Letter [to the Soviet Leaders]), in Michael Meerson Aksenov and Boris Shragin, 
eds.. The Political, Social and Religious Thought of Russian “Samizdat” — An 
Anthology (Belmont, Mass., 1977), 77. See also Medvedev’s critique of Russian 
nationalism in On Socialist Democracy, 87-90. 

32. Ibid., 80. If anything, Medvedev appears to champion the European Russian 
centre and north-west (79ff.). 

33. Medvedev, On Socialist Democracy, 280; see also Motyl, 83. 

34. Andrei D. Sakharov, Progress, Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom (New York, 
1968), 54, 65-6. 

35. See Andrei D. Sakharov, “Manifesto II,” in Andrei D. Sakharov, Sakharov Speaks 
(New York, 1974), 128-9. 

36. See his “Memorandum” of 5 March 1971, ibid., 135-50, and “Postcript to 

Political Relations Between Russians and Ukrainians 


Memorandum” of June 1972, ibid., 151-8. 1971 quotation on p. 142, 1972 
quotation on p. 155. 

37. Ibid., 149. 

38. Ibid. 

39. See, for instance, Andrei D. Sakharov, My Country and the World (New York, 
1975), 97. This writer himself listened to Sakharov’s tape-recorded appeal, 
transmitted by telephone to the First World Congress for Soviet and East 
European Studies in Banff in September 1974, to work for the release of Valentyn 
Moroz and the Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev. Moroz was also 
mentioned among seventeen Soviet political prisoners in Sakharov’s letter to 
President Carter of 21 January 1977. See Andrei D. Sakharov (ed. Efrem 
Yankelevich and Alfred Friendly, Jr.), Alarm and Hope (New York, 1978), 47. 
Also, in his Nobel Prize speech, Sakharov mentioned, without extensive 
comment, the names of 113 Soviet political prisoners. Thirty-two of those, includ- 
ing Moroz, can clearly be identified as Ukrainians. See Alarm and Hope , 16. 

40. Andrei D. Sakharov, “Trevozhnoe vremia,” 4 May 1980, AS no. 4,000, p. 11, in 
Materialy samizdata [henceforth: MS], no. 23/80 (20 June 1980). 

41. Liudmila [Lyudmillal Alekseeva [ Alexey eva], “Iurii Orlov — rukovoditel 
Moskovskoi Gelsinkskoi Gruppy,” Kontinent, no. 21 (1979): 191. 

42. “More than 30 of [the approximately 200 documents up to the present time ]in 
one way or another refer to the situation in Ukraine.” See Lyudmilla Alexeyeva, 
“On the Fifth Anniversary of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group,” Smoloskyp 3, no. 13 
(Fall 1981): 10. 

43. Lyudmilla Alexeyeva, “The Human Rights Movement in the USSR,” Survey 23, 
no. 105 (Autumn 1977-8): 75. This writer has treated the establishment of the 
Ukrainian Helsinki Group at length in Y. Bilinsky and Tonu Panning, “Helsinki 
Watch Committees in the Soviet Republics: Implications for the Soviet 
Nationality Question” (unpublished research report prepared for the National 
Council for Soviet and East European Research under contract 621-9, March 
1980), 5-17 to 5^11. See also condensation in Bilinsky and Parming, “Helsinki 
Watch Committees in the Soviet Republics: Implications for Soviet Nationality 
Policy,” Nationalities Papers 9, no. 1 (Spring 1981): 4-7. 

44. Mykola Rudenko in a letter to Dr. Andrew Zwarun and Bohdan Yasen, President 
and Secretary of the Helsinki Guarantees for Ukraine Committee of Washington, 
D.C., of 1 January 1977. See also Bilinsky and Parming, “Helsinki Watch 
Committees . . . ,” 5. 

45. From the viewpoint of the Moscow Helsinki Group this has been later confirmed 
by Lyudmilla Alexeyeva (see her “On the Fifth Anniversary . . . ,” 10: 

There evolved, without prior arrangements, a certain division of labor be- 
tween the Moscow and Ukrainian groups. The Ukrainian Helsinki Group 
was comprised mainly of participants in the Ukrainian national movement. 
They knew the essence of the Ukrainian national problem very well — their 
lives were devoted to it. The pathos in the work of the Ukrainian Helsinki 
Group consisted of defending the national dignity of Ukraine, its culture 
and rights to independent development. All the documents of the Ukrainian 


Yaroslav Bilinsky 

Group in one way or another are connected with this. Naturally, the 
Moscow Helsinki Group, while it was in complete solidarity with its 
Ukrainian colleagues, did not specifically deal with this problem. 

She adds the interesting sidelight that representatives of the non-Ukrainian 
population of Ukraine such as Crimean Tatars and Ukrainian Jews continued 
to deal with the Moscow Group directly. 

46. This comes out most distinctly in the Ukrainian Group’s Memorandum no. 2, 
reproduced in Bilinsky and Panning, “ Helsinki Watch Committees . . . , ” A-39 to 

47. This writer’s inferences from four interviews with charter members of the 
Helsinki Group and with an American diplomat who at one time had been in 

48. Alexeyeva, “On the Fifth Anniversary . . . ,” 10. 

49. 6 chlenov Mosk. OGS (E. Bonner i dr.). Dokument no. 102. “K sobytiiam na 
Ukraine. Ugolovnyi terror protiv pravozashchitnogo dvizheniia” (Moskva)/ 
14.9.1979, AS no. 3894, in MS no. 11/80 (21 March 1980). 

50. Malva Landa: (1) “K arestu Iuriia Badzo (K istorii rukopisi ‘Pravo zhit’),” 6 pp., 
AS no. 3839, in MS, no. 4/80 (4 February 1980); (2) “K arestu Mykoly Gorbalia,” 
AS no. 3852, 7 pp. in MS, no. 6/80 (18 February 1980); and (3) “O neprekra- 
shchaiushchikhsia presledovaniiakh Didyk Galiny Tomovny”, 2 pp., in MS, 
no. 12/80 (12 March 1980). 

51. “Programma Demokraticheskogo Dvizheniia Sovetskogo Soiuza” (SSSR, 1969 
god), SDS, vol. 5, AS no. 340, 24. 

52. Ibid., 27 (point 13). 

53. Ibid., (point 14). 

54. Ibid., 27-8 (point 15). 

55. Ibid., 28 (point 16). 

56. Ibid., 28. 

57. “Ocherk K. Volnogo, Tntelligentsiia i demokraticheskoe dvizhenie’,” SDS, vol. 8, 
AS no. 607, 35; transl. in Survey 17, no. 3 (Summer 1971): 185. 

58. “Programma Demokraticheskogo Dvizheniia...,” 28-9. 

59. “Ocherk K. Volnogo . . . 36; or in Survey, 185. 

60. Samisdat-Archiv, e.V. (Albert Boiter, comp.), SDS, vol. 30: Khelsinskii samizdat 
iz SSSR (Munich, 1978), 219. 

61. Sakharov, Alarm and Hope, 16. See also “Pomer Artem Iuzkevych,” Svoboda 
(Jersey City, N. J.), 9 February 1982, 1. 

62. SDS, vol. 30, 224. (According to Soldatov, who reported Stus’s support, the latter 
represented the Ukrainian national-democratic movement in Kiev. For Stus’s 
biography, see Helsinki Guarantees for Ukraine Committee, The Human Rights 
Movement in Ukraine: Documents of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group 1976-1980 
(Baltimore, 1980), 263-4. 

63. Andrei Amalrik, Will the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984? (New York, 1970), 

Political Relations Between Russians and Ukrainians 



64. Ibid., 64. Two years before his death, at a conference on “The Future of the 
Soviet Union,” 13-15 September 1978, Amalrik seemingly abandoned his 
prediction of a break-up of the empire. Writing about the “gap between the 
multinational character of society and the centralized character of the state,” he 
noted: “The efforts of the central powers to replace minority customs and 
languages by common Soviet, that is, Russian equivalents become ever stronger.” 
He also seemingly held out the possibility that centralization and Russification 
would be intensified, “gradually proceeding to the abolition of the Union 
Republics and the establishment of a formally unitary state.” See Andrei Amalrik, 
“The Soviet Union — Approaching 1984,” in Robert Wesson, ed., The Soviet 
Union: Looking to the 1980s (Stanford, 1980), 254. But as I read him, Amalrik 
remained skeptical about the success of such a centralizing policy, given the 
growing national self-awareness of the non-Russian peoples (especially that of the 
second generation) and the demographic balance, which is turning against the 
Russians. His conclusion, especially the last three sentences, remains as 
pessimistic as ever (see p. 260). 

65. V. Gorskii, “Russian Messianism and the New National Consciousness,” in The 
Political, Social and Religious Thought of Russian “Samizdat, ” 392. 

66. Roman Szporluk, “History and Russian Nationalism,” Survey 24, no. 3 (Summer 
1979): 2. 

67. John B. Dunlop, “The Russian Nationalist Spectrum Today: Trends and 
Movements” (Paper presented at the 13th National Convention of the AAASS, 
20-23 September 1981), 11. See also Dunlop’s excellent earlier article, “The 
Many Faces of Contemporary Russian Nationalism,” Survey 24, no. 3 (Summer 
1979): 18-35. 

68. John B. Dunlop, The New Russian Revolutionaries (Belmont, Ma. 1976), 214. See 
also Szporluk, 9ff. 

69. Dunlop, The New Russian Revolutionaries, 215. 

70. Szporluk, lOn. 

71. “Slovo natsii,” in SDS, vol. 8, AS no. 590, 18. See also the excellent analysis of 
that document by Dmitry Pospielovsky, “The Resurgence of Russian Nationalism 
in Samizdat ,” Survey 19, no. 1 (Winter 1973): 59-63. 

72. “Slovo natsii,” 16. 

73. Ibid., 16-17. Translation from “A Word to the Nation,” Survey 17, no. 3 (Summer 
1971): 196-7. N.B.: According to the 1970 census the Russians did not constitute 
the absolute majority in any Ukrainian oblast, except in the Crimea. See 
Radianska Ukraina, 25 April 1971, 2. 

74. See “Ukrainian Journal Evaluates Russian Dissidents,” in George Saunders, ed., 
Samizdat: Voices of the Soviet Opposition (New York, 1974), 424-5. 

75. “General M.D. Skobelev kak polkovodets i gosudarstvennyi deiatel,” Veche, no. 2 
(19 May 1971), in SDS, vol. 21, AS no. 1020, 48-66. 

76. M. Antonov, “Uchenie slavianofilov — vysshii vzlet narodnogo samosoznaniia 
Rosii v doleninskii period,” Veche, no. 1 (Jan. 1971) and no. 2, in SDS, vol. 21; 

Yaroslav Bilinsky 


AS no. 1013, 13-14 and AS 1020, 4-27. 

77. Pospielovsky, 65 and 65n. 

78. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Pismo vozhdiam Sovetskogo Soiuza (Paris, 1974), as 
reprinted in SDS, vol. 28, AS no. 1,600. 

79. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, ’’Repentance and Self-Limitation in the Life of Nations,” 
in Alexander Solzhenitsyn et al.. From Under the Rubble (Boston, 1975), 105^43. 

80. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, “Sakharov and the Criticism of ‘A Letter to the Soviet 
Leaders,’ ”in Kontinent (Garden City, N.Y., 1976), 14-23. 

81. Solzhenitsyn, Pismo . . . , 15 n. 

82. As cited by Theodore Shabad, “Solzhenitsyn Asks Kremlin to Abandon 
Communism and Split Up Soviet Union,” New York Times, 3 March 1974, 26. 

83. Medvedev, “What Awaits Us in the Future? . . . ,” 77. Dunlop is more diplomatic 
in saying: “As for relations between Great Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians, 
Solzhenitsyn seems to favour some kind of federalism.” (Dunlop, “Solzhenitsyn 
in Exile,” Survey 21, no. 3, 139). 

84. The clearest reference is in Solzhenitsyn’s attack on Poland “for energetically 
annexing our territory and oppressing us ” in Solzhenitsyn, “Repentance . . . ,” 131. 
Altogether, on this and the following two pages (i.e., 131-3), Ukraine, its 
provinces and its leaders are mentioned twelve times, those of Belorussia — three 
times, and those of ethnic Russia — five times. 

85. For instance, see Solzhenitsyn, ’’Sakharov . . . ,” 21. 

86. Dunlop, “Solzhenitsyn in Exile,” 139-40n. 

87. This was recognized in the “Russian-Ukrainian Declaration” of 30 September 

1979. See Kontinent, no. 24 (1980): 4 and Ukrainski visti (Detroit), 13 August 

1980, 1. 

88. Removed from the Secretariat were: Vitalii Titov in April 1965 and Podgorny in 
December 1965. From the Politburo: Shelest in April 1973 and Podgorny in May 

89. It is not a coincidence that there is no article on “plebiscite” in the International 
Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (IESS) (New York, 1968). Using the index I 
have found a brief — and negative — reference in Dankwart A. Rustow’s article on 
“The Nation”: “As a practical expedient . . . plebiscites can determine national 
boundaries only in marginal situations [emphasis added] and even then the choice 
needs to be defined, and the result enforced, either by the common consent of pre- 
existing neighboring states or else by a predominant concert of outside powers. 
As Sir Ivor Jennings has written, ‘On the surface it seemed reasonable: let the 
people decide. It was in fact ridiculous because the people cannot decide until 
somebody decides who are the people’ ...” (IESS, 2: 11). Guenther Jaenicke in 
“Plebiszit,” Handworterbuch der Sozialwissenschaften (Stuttgart, 1964), vol. 8, 
also tends to be rather skeptical: “In view of the contemporary practice [of states] 
the principle that changes in the sovereignty of a territory [staatliche 
Zugehorigkeit ] can only be undertaken on the basis of a plebiscite cannot as yet 
be regarded as having universal validity...” (347). 

Political Relations Between Russians and Ukrainians 


Compare this with the period between the wars. See (1) Sarah Wambaugh’s 
“Plebiscite” in Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (New York, 1934), 12: 163-6; 
(2) her Monograph on Plebiscites with a Collection of Official Documents (New 
York, 1920); (3) her Plebiscites since the World War with a Collection of Official 
Documents, 2 vols. (Washington, 1933), and (4) her The Saar Plebiscite with a 
Collection of Official Documents (Cambridge, Mass., 1940). 

90. With a total population of 2.2 million in 1900 in Norway and a total population of 
5.1 million (1900) in Sweden (see United Nations, Department of Social Affairs 
Population Division, ..., Demographic Yearbook 1949-50, 2d issue [New York, 
1950], 93 + 94 for figures), the plebiscite was held only in Norway. 435,376 
persons were entitled to vote, 371,911 or 85.4 per cent actualy voted, 368,208 
voted for separation, 184 voted against, and 3,519 ballots were declared invalid 
(see official report of the Norwegian Department of Justice in Sarah Wambaugh, 
Monograph on Plebiscites [1920], 1070ff.). For background see Wambaugh, ibid., 
165-9; also Johannes Mattern, The Employment of the Plebiscite in the 
Determination of Sovereignty (Baltimore, 1920), 112-14. 

91. Obviously I am referring to the sad case of Iurii Badzio. See (1) Malva Landa’s 
plea, note 50 above; (2) Badzio’ s own protest or open letter to the Presidium of 
the USSR Supreme Soviet, in which he reconstructs the argument of the 
manuscript from memory, “Govorit Iurii Badzio: ‘Pravo zhit,’” AS no. 3840, in 
MS, no. 4/80 (4 Feb. 1980), 9 pp.; and (3) information on his fate in Marco 
Carynnyk, ed., Ukraine and the Helsinki Accords: Soviet Violations of Human 
Rights, 1975-1980 (Toronto and New York, 1980), 260. 

92. On Glazunov see: (1) Edmund Stevens, “Slavophiles Blame All Soviet Ills on 
Karl Marx,” (London) Times, 16 November 1979; (2) Bondarenko’s interview 
with I. Glazunov on Radio Liberty — MORS, 460 OJ, 17 August 1979; (3) David 
Willis, “Soviet Censors Try New Track,” Christian Science Monitor, 24 
September 1979; (4) Radio Moscow 2, 27 September 1979, at 16:00 + 20:15, 
MORS 5542 22, 27 September 1979; (5) Radio Moscow 1, 4 July 1980, 20:15 in 
MORS 357 04, 5 July 1980; (6) Craig R. Whitney, “Leninist Ideology Gripped by 
Crisis,” New York Times, 13 October 1980; and (7) TASS English service 
30 1981 (all these sources courtesy of Roman Solchanyk, Radio Liberty). Also on 
Glazunov see Dunlop, “The Many Faces of Contemporary Russian Nationalism,” 
29ff., and his “The Russian Nationalist Spectrum Today . . . ,” 5-6 got a nice 
sample of rapturous comments (from Khudozhnik i Rossiia, Dtisseldorf, 1980). On 
the Ukrainian Group see: Ukrainian Herald, Issue IV (Munich, 1974), 7-30; also 
Kenneth C. Farmer, “Politics and Culture in the Ukraine in the Post-Stalin Era,” 
Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the US 14, no. 37-8 
(1978-80): 200-01. 

93. Most of the figures from Roman Solchanyk, “The Ukraine and Ukrainians in the 
USSR: Nationality and Language Aspects of the Census in 1979,” in collection 
RFE-RL Radio Liberty Research Bulletin-. The All-Union Census of 1979 in the 
USSR (Munich, 1980), RL 100/80 (11 March 1980). 

94. Point made briefly, with figures, in Myroslav Prokop, “Violations of Political and 
National Rights in Ukraine, 1975-80,” in Carynnyk, ed., 50. For more extended 
discussion see Robert A. Lewis, Richard H. Rowland, and Ralph S. Clem, “The 

1 98 Yaroslav Bilinsky 

Growth and Redistribution of the Ukrainian Population of Russia and the USSR: 
1897-1970,” in Peter J. Potichnyj, ed., Ukraine in the Seventies (Oakville, 1975), 
151-63, and same authors, Nationality and Population Change in Russia and the 
USSR: An Evaluation of Census Data, 1897-1970 (New York, 1976), 141-63 and 
202 - 21 . 

95. The Soviet demographer S.I. Bruk, [’’Ethnographic Processes in the USSR (Using 
Materials from the Postwar Population Censuses)”], lstoriia SSSR, no. 5 
(September-October 1980): 24-47, as abstracted in the Current Digest of the 
Soviet Press 32, no. 50, 10, suggests that part of the increase in Ukraine’s Russian 
population may be due to Ukrainians who earlier had given Russian as their 
native language (2+ million in 1959) and now in 1979 changed their nationality. 
This would not be incompatible with the extremely valuable findings of Lubomyr 
Hajda, “Nationality and Age in Soviet Population Change,” Soviet Studies 32, 
no. 4 (October 1980): 475-99, who found that between 1960 and 1970 Ukrainians 
had relatively more small children than the Russians. 

96. See, for instance, the complaints by Vitalii Kalynychenko of August 1977, cited 
in Prokop, 49, and an even sharper protest in “Demographic Statistics Exposing 
the Colonial Policy of Moscow’s Occupation Forces in Ukraine,” The Ukrainian 
Herald Issue 7-8: Ethnocide of Ukrainians in the USSR, Spring 1974 (Baltimore, 
1976), 66ff. 

97. For documentation see especially The Ukrainian Herald Issue 6: Dissent in 
Ukraine (Baltimore, 1977). 

98. See Bilinsky, “Expanding the Use of Russian . . . ,” 322-3. 

99. Ibid., 328. 

100. “Russko-ukrainskoe zaiavlenie,” 4. 

101. See Table in Ann Sheehy, “Ethnic Muslims Account for Half of Soviet 
Population Increase,” Radio Liberty, Report on the USSR, volume 2, number 3 
(January 19, 1990), p. 17. The semi-secret data from the 1989 census shows as 
many as 268,739 Crimean Tatars, an increase of 103.2 per cent. 

102. In this I would agree with the thoughtful article of Roman Szporluk, “Russians in 
Ukraine and Problems of Ukrainian Identity in the USSR,” in Potichnyj, ed., 213. 

103. Many Ukrainians can speak Russian but greatly resent being forced to do so. 

104. Gorskii, “Russian Messianism . . . ,” 393. 


James Cracraft 

The Mask of Culture: Baroque Art in Russia 
and Ukraine, 1600-1750 

These observations concerning Russian and Ukrainian cultural developments 
between roughly 1600 and 1750 turn on the terms “Baroque”, “art” (meaning 
fine art), and “mask,” the last serving here as a metaphor in various senses. My 
purpose is to say something about the phenomenon of cultural Europeanization 
(preferred to “Westernization”) in early modem Russia and Ukraine and, given 
the overall theme of this collection, something also about the relationship be- 
tween these two historical processes. For it is agreed, I think, that in some 
degree “Russia” and “Ukraine” denote not only methodologically separate, but 
actually distinct, historical entities; and that however much they may be related, 
therefore, major historical developments in the one will have been different in 
their origins, course, and consequences from apparently similar developments 
in the other. The Renaissance in Italy was different from the Renaissance in 
France; the career of the Baroque in Ukraine should have been different from 
its career in Russia. Indeed, my investigations of the problem to date strongly 
suggest that this was so. 

It might be noted that such a perception has not been readily available to the 
disinterested inquirer. If one reads the relevant (and extensive) passages of the 
monumental history of “Russian” art compiled by Grabar and others (1909), 
one finds that the story begins in Ukraine — the “Ukrainian Baroque” — 
continues in Moscow — the “Moscow Baroque” — and culminates in 
St. Petersburg, particularly in the architecture of Rastrelli, the supreme 
representative of the “St. Petersburg Baroque” and the first artist of any kind 
(Grabar tells us) to have been known in Russia beyond the confines of the 
court. The St. Petersburg Baroque, also entitled the “Russian Baroque” proper, 
then swept all before it — in the Ukrainian parts of the Empire as well (as 
witness, most obviously, Rastrelli’ s St. Andrew’s church in Kiev). And this 
remains, in essence, the view from afar (e.g., Hamilton, 1975). There is in fact 
little Western writing on the Baroque in either Russia or Ukraine that 
incorporates more recent research. 


James Cracraft 


The literature on the Baroque in Europe now fairly rivals, in quantity if not 
perhaps in quality, that devoted to the Renaissance or to Classical antiquity 
itself. Moreover, general historians, building on the work of their colleagues in 
architecture, painting, sculpture, and literature, have applied the term to a whole 
civilization, one which is said to have flourished in Europe between about 1600 
and 1750, whence it spread to Latin America and colonial Asia, there also to 
flourish until well into the nineteenth century (Braudel, 1972). The Baroque’s 
historiographical rise is itself a curious topic, signifying as it does a more 
tolerant, more catholic and/or relativist outlook in recent historical scholarship, 
among other things (a decline, conversely, of “Enlightenment” or “Neo- 
classical” biases). Yet as a historiographical term “Baroque” lacks precision, 
the result, in part, of applying it to broad ranges of often quite discrepant 
phenomena (and of describing its attributes, too often, in rather windy prose). 
The remark made some thirty years ago by a German authority still stands: 
“Baroque remains a nominalistic term with a heuristic value and not an ab- 
solute one” (von Faber du Faur, 1958). 

At any rate, it is clear that the term “Baroque” is used properly first with 
regard to certain buildings erected in Rome between the 1620s and the 1660s; 
next, to imitative buildings erected later in the seventeenth and then in the 
eighteenth century in Rome, northern Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Bavaria, and 
beyond; then, to the works of painting and sculpture that are so much a part of 
these buildings’ decorative plan and, from there, to any painting, engraving, or 
carved object of the period which resembles these works. But the term is also 
applied to the overall plan and/or decorative details of gardens, parks, and even 
whole townscapes that are seen to embody principles of Baroque art more 
narrowly so called (Bialostocki [1977] reminds us that the period itself pro- 
duced no theory of Baroque art); to the contemporary musicals, theatricals, and 
ceremonials that are seen as somehow embodying these principles; and, finally, 
to literature. “Baroque” has been used to describe works in Latin or in the 
vernaculars classifiable as of poetry, drama, oratory or even of philosophy and 
theology (Leibniz, Neoscholasticism) whose forms and themes exhibit features 
more or less strongly reminiscent of the salient characteristics of Baroque 
architecture, painting, and sculpture (cf. Tomassoni, 1963). 

What these principles and salient characteristics are, concretely, technically, 
I will not attempt to say. Suffice it to refer to the significant departures from 
the norms of Renaissance-classical architecture to be observed in the works of 
Bernini, Borromini, Pietro da Cortona and their immediate followers: to the 
fluid or open ground plans of these buildings; their highly ornate, often quite 
inventive decoration; and their multimedial optical illusions. The rest is 
“Baroque” by extension. 

The Mask of Culture 



Baroque works of art, it becomes increasingly clear, were also produced in 
the Slavic lands (Angyal, 1961, is the first general study; see also Rogov and 
others, 1979). In some Slavic centres, of course, the production was 
considerble. One thinks immediately of the Baroque architecture of Prague, 
Cracow, Lviv, or St. Petersburg, and of literary developments in Poland and 
Bohemia (Hemas, 1973; Souckova, 1980). Yet in so saying I would stress that 
for most of the period in question most of the Slavic world subsisted as yet 
either on or beyond the borders of Europe, “Europe” understood as the 
homeland of a particular cultural synthesis or rather succession of cultural 
syntheses dating back to the early Middle Ages. I would stress that in its 
primary historical manifestation the Baroque was a central and, more particular- 
ly, a southern European phenomenon; one that was Latin and Mediterranean in 
origin, Roman Catholic and especially Jesuit in dissemination, and aristocratic 
if not royal, indeed papal, by patronage. In fact, the advance of the Baroque in 
Europe and beyond provides a textbook case of the theory of cultural diffusion, 
with Rome as the “centre of spread.” Where the Catholic church was not 
strong, or not even tolerated; where the Jesuits (or the Franciscans, the 
Dominicans, the Carmelites) could not work; where sympathetic princes did not 
rule: there the Baroque appeared late, and then sporadically, when at all. The 
obstacles to be overcome by the advancing Baroque in, say, Holland, England, 
or Russia were political and religious more than aesthetic or geographical. 
Ignorance or misconstruction of these fundamental points — of the very nature 
of Baroque art — has obscured its history in both Russia and Ukraine while 
giving rise, especially in Soviet scholarship, to quite remarkable distortions. 

The earliest comprehensive application of the term “Baroque” to works of 
Ukrainian and Russian architecture, painting, and sculpture of the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries is to be found in that monumental history of “Russian” 
art by Grabar and others referred to above (1909). Their formulations 
engendered debate in succeeding years over the nature and limits of the 
Baroque as applied to local art, debate which at times reflected the advance of 
Baroque scholarship in the West (Lukomsky, 1911; Nekrasov and others, 1926; 
Shmit and others, 1929; Zalozieckyj, 1929). The initiatives of Grabar and 
associates, not surprisingly, were found in need of refinement and further 
exploration. They were also criticized, rightly, for having conferred so to speak 
the Baroque dignity on rustic phenomena lacking any demonstrable connection 
with contemporary European art. But Soviet ultranationalism and ideological 
simplisticism soon supervened. It was asserted in effect that as an inherently 
reactionary art, at once Catholic and “feudal,” the Baroque could have had little 
impact on Russian and, more surprisingly still, Ukrainian cultural history. One 
hesitates to embarrass our Soviet colleagues in such matters, but the 
reformulations regarding Russian architectural developments of the first half of 
the eighteenth century published by Grabar and others in 1954 are a case in 


James Cracraft 

point. Lately, to be sure, there are signs that a more sophisticated and in part 
positive picture of the Baroque and its influence is emerging there (Vipper, 
1978). Indeed, the editor of one Soviet collection goes so far as to identify a 
whole “Baroque age” ( epokha barokko ) in Russian art history. For if, as she 
says, the term “does not define all aspects of the many-sided artistic activity of 
the first half of the eighteenth century” in Russia, it was the “leading 
tendency”; moreover, “in significant measure it was precisely in Baroque forms 
that the classical tradition of West European art was adopted, which in turn 
made possible the transition from Old-Russian to modem [Russian] art” 
(Alekseeva and others, 1977). Things had come a long way from the 
deprecations of the Baroque habitual to an entire generation or more of Soviet 
scholars. ' 

Unhappily, it cannot be reported that any such realignment distinguishes 
Soviet Ukrainian art scholarship. There the flowering of Baroque art on 
Ukrainian territory is still treated, in neo-populist fashion, as a largely if not 
wholly indigenous development. Biletsky’s survey (1981) is a welcome if only 
partial exception to this rule. For in general the interdependence and eventual 
convergence of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Ukrainian and Russian art 
continue to be stressed in Soviet scholarship at the expense of the former’s 
European and especially Polish sources, a feat that is accomplished, in part, by 
simply ignoring western Ukraine. While this goes on, of course, the early 
modem cultural history of both Russia and Ukraine cannot be properly under- 

The term “Baroque” was first applied to the work of a Russian writer in the 
1930s, in an article showing the German influences on Trediakovsky 
(Pumpiansky, 1937). Eremin used the term in his studies of Simeon Polotsky 
published in 1948 and 1953. Yet by 1962 the situation was still such that 
Morozov could complain, in the journal Russkaia literatura, of a certain “hush- 
up” ( zamalchivanie ) in Soviet literary scholarship concerning the “problem of 
the Baroque.” Drawing on his researches as a biographer of Lomonosov, 
Morozov proposed so broad an applicaton of the term in Russian literary 
history as to provoke a long and excmciating rebuttal by Academician 
Likhachev (1968; 1969). The ensuing polemics, conducted in succeeding issues 
of Russkaia literatura and elsewhere, reveal elements of the nationalistic and 
ideological biases mentioned above in connection with Soviet art scholarship. 
The polemics also suggest that the Soviet literary establishment was finally 
coaxed into a begrudging acceptance of the Baroque as a valid historical and 
critical category by the work of Polish, Czech, and East German specialists in 
“Russian” as well as their own, respective literary histories. 

Abroad, meanwhile, Dmytro Chyzhevsky almost single-handedly estab- 
lished a full Baroque period in the history of Ukrainian and then of Russian 
literature. His depiction of a Ukrainian literary Baroque has been criticized, 
however, for being at once static and isolated from its wider, especially Polish 

The Mask of Culture 


connections: as reflecting, to quote Milosz, “the sky of ideas” (Grabowicz, 
1977); while in their enthusiasm to promote the supposed independence and 
maturity of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century “Russian” letters, it may be 
feared, Soviet scholars will play loose with the Baroque in its primary, and 
essential, European significance (cf. Segel, 1973; 1974). Another Western 
student proposes the term “Russo-Ukrainian scholasticism” to cover literary de- 
velopments in Russia between roughly 1650 and 1750, with only “Baroque 
influences” appearing in both verse and prose (Drage, 1978). A basic problem, 
as Professor Segel says (1974), is that “there is so little Russian literature that 
lends itself to consideration as Baroque.” Nor is the material base much 
improved when we turn to the Ukrainian literature of the period, particularly if 
we exclude from consideration works written by “Ukrainian” authors in Latin 
or Polish. 


In fact, in any serious study of the Baroque in Russia and Ukraine major 
source problems soon impose themselves. In the case of architecture, for 
instance, it is estimated that more than 70,000 cities, towns, and villages were 
devastated on Soviet territory in the course of the Second World War and some 
3,000 individual monuments partially or completely destroyed. To this whole- 
sale wartime destruction must be added that done to individual architectural 
monuments or to whole sites as a result of Soviet versions of “urban renewal”. 
For until very recently the principles of architectural restoration and, still more, 
of historic preservation have enjoyed only sporadic and limited support among 
Soviet planners and policy-makers, support which has alternated with the 
deliberate destruction particularly of ecclesiastical monuments. In brief, 
numerous monuments testifying to Baroque influence on Russian building have 
been lost in this century, often with scarcely any graphic or documentary trace 
(I have in mind not only such a major monument as Patriarch Nikon’s cathedral 
of the New Jerusalem monastery, which is now being laboriously restored, but 
countless urban and country churches of the eighteenth and nineteenth 
centuries). In Ukraine, if anything, the loss has been still more grievous — and is 
compounded by the relative sloth of restoration efforts. Not only were the three 
major examples of “Ukrainian Baroque” architecture in Kiev completely 
destroyed, but the loss of a “whole series of the most precious monuments” as 
well as of “certain archival materials” has meant that “only an approximate 
answer can be given to many important questions”: I quote from the best study 
to date of eastern Ukrainian architecture of the period under review (Tsapenko, 
1967; see also Hewryk, 1982). 

Students of Baroque painting or sculpture in Ukraine are beset by com- 
parable difficulties. In part these derive from the wartime architectural destruc- 
tion just mentioned, in part from Soviet policy. Hordynsky (1973) points out, 
for instance, that only fifty of more than 10,000 icons collected in Lviv are 


James Cracraft 

accessible to researchers, while a recent study of early modem Ukrainian 
painting affirms both implicitly and explicitly that the loss of material has been 
simply enormous (Zholtovsky, 1978). The latter makes the melancholy point 
that not one of the “wondrous” paintings observed by Paul of Aleppo in his 
celebrated travels up the Dnieper basin in the middle of the seventeenth century 
survives. By contrast, the collection, restoration, study, and exhibition of 
Russian medieval and early modem painting, though far from ideal, have gone 
significantly further in Soviet times, especially in the last twenty years or so. 
Consider only the splendid two-volume catalogue of the relevant holdings of 
the Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow, where 1443 icons from a list of 4260 
identified as then in the gallery are described (Antonova and Mneva, 1963). 

Not all of the damage to the Russian and Ukrainian artistic heritage occurred 
in the twentieth century, to be sure. On the other hand, it was the relative 
meagemess of this heritage, quantitatively speaking, that makes this century’s 
deliberate neglect and destruction so terrible. In England the Church 
Commissioners have to look after some 11,000 medieval stone edifices. This 
figure approaches the total of wooden and masonry churches known to have 
existed in Russia at the end of our period (about 1750) and of which a small 
fraction is now to be seen. In Norway and Sweden, fifty-six wooden or “stave” 
churches of the twelfth to the early fifteenth centuries have been preserved. In 
Russia and Ukraine, with but one or two debatable exceptions, the oldest 
surviving wooden churches, and a handful at that, date to the seventeenth 
century. One has only to tour the Soviet Union today, a copy of Baedeker's 
Russia of 1914 in hand, to sense the extent of the devastation to the built 
environment that has occurred since. And one senses that a comparably grim 
picture could be worked up for all of the plastic arts. 


In the light of these multiple historiographical and source problems, not 
much can now be said with certainty regarding the career of the Baroque in 
Russia and Ukraine — not much more, generally speaking, than that the standard 
Western view, based on the pre-Revolutionary work in Russian of Grabar and 
others (1909), is no longer tenable. This is partly a tribute to the efforts of 
Soviet researchers, who in recent years have been setting aside the structures of 
an earlier time and are proceeding in their specialized studies to lay the 
groundwork for a new synthesis. Nor have one or two Western scholars been 
idle in the matter. We might consider some examples of this more recent 
research and fresher thinking in the primary field (for students of the Baroque) 
of architecture. 

In the old view, Ivan Zarudny (or Zarudnev), an architect from Kiev who 
came to Moscow around 1700 and built one or more startlingly Baroque-like 
churches, was a key transmitter of the “Ukrainian Baroque” to Russia — indeed, 
the only one to be identified. But recent studies, in which further documentary 

The Mask of Culture 


as well as graphic evidence has been brought to bear, strongly suggest that the 
builders and decorators of the churches in question were Italians imported by 
Peter I. Zarudny, in this view, was an icon-painter and wood-carver whose only 
verifiable works are several triumphal arches and iconostases executed on the 
instructions, again, of Italian masters working in Moscow and St. Petersburg. 
At the same time, newly discovered documentary evidence suggests that 
Russian builders working in Kiev in the 1690s contributed decorative forms to 
the major monuments of the “Ukrainian Baroque” whose construction they 
either directed or assisted in. These builders were sent from Moscow to Kiev 
by Peter I at the urgent request of Hetman Mazepa, and pending still further 
investigations into the matter we must wonder whether the traffic in the 
Baroque was not two-way. 

Then again, B.R. Vipper has argued, in essays written in the 1940s but only 
published in 1978, that there was no such thing as a “Moscow Baroque” in 
seventeenth-century Russian architecture. The decisive external influence on 
the latter’s characteristically profuse decoration, he argued further, was not 
Ukrainian but Dutch, and that of a kind which had little or nothing to do with 
the Baroque but was rather Mannerist, even Gothic, in style. Given the 
relatively extensive commercial and other contacts between Russia and Holland 
in the period, this is a most promising suggestion. Meanwhile, the documentary 
and graphic evidence so far adduced on the penetration of Baroque — or 
Mannerist or Renaissance — motives in seventeenth-century Russian building 
points to two verifiable paths of diffusion, and only two: one, the elaborate 
iconostases fashioned by Belorussian craftsmen from about 1650 for patrons 
such as Patriarch Nikon and Tsarevna Sofia, numerous details of which were 
then copied, in their decorative schemes, by local church builders; and two, the 
illustrated books and individual prints flooding Russia from Ukraine, Poland, 
Germany and elsewhere in Europe in which local builders, in their rustic way, 
found a cornucopia of ornaments to imitate (Hughes, 1976; 1977). Indeed, we 
would seem to have here an excellent instance of the process of “rusti- 
calization” in the transmission of art forms from a more to a less developed 
cultural community or “nation” (Stech, 1933). 

In Russia, I would argue, Baroque architecture and the associated decorative 
arts arrived both directly and at once, in the space of a single generation — the 
work mainly of the thousand or more European builders of all kinds assisted by 
tens of thousands of local craftsmen who erected St. Petersburg, on the orders 
of Peter I, between 1703 and 1725 (Peter’s death; intensive building resumed in 
the 1730s). This revolution in Russian architecture was eventually to reach into 
every comer of the Russian Empire. Particularly was this so during the reign of 
Peter’s daughter, Empress Elizabeth, when a “Russian Baroque” in architecture 
is rightly said to have flowered, and again under Catherine II, when the 
Baroque in Russian building was overtaken, once more following European 
trends, by the relatively restrained tendency known as “Neoclassicism.” This 


James Cracraft 

Russian or, perhaps better, Imperial Baroque left its traces, and occasionally a 
major monument, in the Ukrainian parts of the Empire, too (Rastrelli’s St. 
Andrew’s church in Kiev). But it had virtually nothing to do, in its genesis or 
spread, with the “Ukrainian Baroque” of an earlier time. 

Further, it may well be asked what the term “Ukrainian Baroque” itself can 
mean (cf. Ohloblyn, 1951). A “Belorussian Baroque” in architecture, it may be 
noted, is now a recognized phenomenon in Soviet scholarship, a matter less of 
ideological fashion than of plain fact. As a major work in the field makes clear, 
in Belorussia, owing to its complete incorporation in the Polish-Lithuanian 
state, the “basic trend in architecture of the seventeenth century and the first 
three-quarters of the eighteenth was Baroque” (Chanturiia, 1969). But the 
“Ukrainian Baroque” has been granted no such recognition. On the contrary, 
barely was it launched when Lukomsky proposed (1911) that the term had sev- 
eral and, to a degree, mutually exclusive meanings. There was, first of all, an 
early “Ukrainian Baroque proper . . . almost Catholic in feeling” that flourished 
in Lviv and elsewhere in Galicia, the work largely of Italian and Polish masters. 
In this sense the “Ukrainian Baroque” classifies readily, like its Belorussian 
cousin, as a species of the Baroque architecture— Italianate and Catholic — to be 
found throughout the territories of the seventeenth-century Polish-Lithuanian 
state (Milobedzki, 1980). Next came, in Lukomsky’ s scheme, a “Mazepist” 
phase of the “Ukrainian Baroque”: a “Mazepist Baroque” that was Germanic in 
its decorative details, both European and local in its structural forms, and pretty 
much confined, in its spread, to the towns and Cossack centres of the Dnieper 
river basin. But this architecture, now often called “Cossack Baroque,” is not, I 
would insist, properly Baroque at all. Like the contemporary Orthodox church 
architecture of Belorussia or of the Moscow region, these were local structures 
festooned, in a rusticalizing way, with a miscellany of Baroque ornaments — or 
Mannerist or Renaissance or even Gothic— borrowed from who knows quite 
where. To call such buildings “Baroque” is both to misuse the term and to 
obscure their originality. A new stylistic term — simply “Cossack architec- 
ture?” — surely is needed here. 

Finally, Lukomsky took note of — it could not be ignored — the Baroque of 
Rastrelli and his followers in Ukraine, a style emanating from St. Petersburg. 
This was indeed Baroque architecture properly so called. But it was confined to 
the Left Bank, and even there had only a limited impact on building, it seems. 
Moreover, historically as well as stylistically it was an imperial architecture, the 
first in a succession of Imperial Russian styles, and was not in any significant 
way specifically Ukrainian. 

Thus with respect to architecture and the associated arts the term “Ukrainian 
Baroque” is something of a misnomer, and might be usefully eliminated in 
scholarly discourse in favour of a phrase such as “Baroque architecture in 
Ukraine,” which provides for a variety of applications over both time and 
space. In literature, on the other hand, the situation is quite different. Whether 

The Mask of Culture 


one refers, narrowly, to writing readily classifiable as belletristic; or to, instead, 
the entire product of a given literary culture, including works of political, 
historical, religious, philosophical, and theological content (as I would prefer to 
do, in view of the time and the places under review): whether one uses 
“literature” in either the broader or the narrower sense, there is no question now 
that in the seventeenth century Baroque literary forms and themes were 
deployed, at times with remarkable skill, by Ukrainian writers. It is also clear 
that in so doing these writers drew heavily on Polish models; equally, that some 
of them carried Baroque norms to Moscow and St. Petersburg, where as 
teachers and preachers they contributed crucially to that modest flowering of 
Baroque literature in eighteenth-century Russia which was mentioned above. 

Yet I would caution that it is at the least premature to speak of a “Ukrainian 
literary Baroque,” if only because so much is still to be done in the matter of 
locating and establishing texts. I would also worry that the bilingual or even 
multilingual achievement of the most prominent writers in question itself 
vitiates against such a designation, since neither thematically nor biographically 
do these writers have enough in common to make up, as it were, for the 
linguistic deficit. To speak of “the Ukrainian Baroque” in literature is to imply 
both a unity and a frequency of phenomena which were not perhaps there. Nor 
should the importance of Ukrainian Baroque influence on Russian literature be 
exaggerated, as it sometimes is. Russian Baroque literature was a modest 
flower, to repeat, and the product also of direct German, Italian, and French 


I began these remarks thinking to emphasize the importance of the Baroque 
in the cultural history of both Russia and Ukraine. I had thought to introduce at 
some point, for illustrative purposes, the career in those parts of Tasso’s 
Gerusalemme liberata (1575), that epic of Italian Baroque literature which in 
Kochanowski’s Polish rendition (1618) was probably the best-known literary 
work of foreign origin in seventeenth-century Poland. Around 1700 at least part 
of the Kochanowski version was translated into Ukrainian by Uniate monks, 
and as early as 1705, it seems, it was extensively quoted in a poetics course 
given at the Kiev academy. A version of this course was given at the Moscow 
academy in 1732, when a Russian translation of two verses of the Kocha- 
nowski/Tasso epic was achieved. Other instances could be adduced to illustrate 
this first or academic stage of the epic’s career in Russia. A second stage is to 
be found in its influence, in the original Italian or in French or German 
translations, on the likes of Antiokh Kantemir, Trediakovsky, Lomonosov, 
Sumarokov, and Kheraskov. In 1772, M. I. Popov published his Russian 
translation of Mirabeau’s French prose edition of the entire epic, which 
Catherine II judged “very fine” and which in 1787 was republished in a much 
larger run by Novikov. It was Popov who together with Chulkov did so much 


James Cracraft 

to create Russian fairy literature, one of their main sources having been, it 
seems, Tasso’s epic. One could also point to the epic’s having served as a 
source of theme or character or episode for several important operas and ballets 
produced in Russia during the last third of the eighteenth century. As a 
metaphor of the larger historical process, Tasso’s complicated career in Ukraine 
and then in Russia — academic, literary, theatrical — is almost too neat. 

I have not even mentioned music. In eighteenth-century Russia, both in 
church and at court, Baroque instrumental and especially choral music rapidly 
displaced the older, ultimately Byzantine norms — a process that had begun ear- 
lier in Ukraine, whence talented singers and composers went on to make 
exceptional careers in St. Petersburg. Analogous developments took place in 
painting (in portable or easel painting as well as in wall or decorative painting), 
with the result that in Russia icon-painting was rapidly reduced from a great 
state enterprise to a provincial, popular craft; in oratory, sacred and then 
secular, as is well known; and in what can only be called “thought.” Here I 
mean that version of Jesuit Neoscholasticism (itself a typically Baroque 
combination of medieval Scholasticism and Renaissance-classical learning) 
perfected at the Kiev academy in the last decades of the seventeenth century 
which was then implanted elsewhere in Ukraine and in Russia — in the Moscow 
and St. Petersburg academies and in some twenty-six diocesan colleges — in the 
first decades of the eighteenth. It is not too much to say that Russians, like 
Ukrainians, first learned to think, in a formal, discursive, indeed in a logical 
way, under the tutelage of the Baroque. 

When we consider, then, the history of Ukrainian and of Russian culture be- 
tween about 1600 and 1750, it would appear that the Baroque influx had a 
major and at times revolutionary impact, particularly on the development of 
architecture and the plastic or decorative arts. This is as it should have been, 
once the political and aesthetic obstacles had been surmounted, given the 
essential nature of the Baroque in its homeland. And it might be agreed, in 
sum, that the term “Baroque” conveniently and properly designates a variety of 
European artistic and intellectual influences that were instrumental, sometimes 
crucially, in the formation of modern Russian and modem Ukrainian culture. It 
might be agreed that these influences were instrumental both extensively, by 
involving Ukrainians and Russians as never before in a dynamic, expansive 
civilization, and intensively, by giving impetus to the cultivation of national 
differences between them (political, religious, linguistic, etc.). 

Yet I end these remarks fearing to have overstated the significance of the 
Baroque in Russian and especially Ukrainian history, a matter not alone of the 
historiographical and source problems already mentioned, but of the seemingly 
insuperable barrier of popular culture. For until the evolution of East Slavic 
popular culture in the last few centuries has been properly investigated, how 
can we really judge the impact on Russia or Ukraine of the Baroque (or, for 
that matter, of either Christianity or the Enlightenment)? I speak now as one 

The Mask of Culture 


who suspects that the impact of the Baroque on the East Slavic popular mind 
was considerable, a matter of everything from folktales to Christmas carols. But 
having myself been denied access, on occasion, to Soviet holdings of interest, I 
despair of Soviet scholars ever developing the capacity to study popular culture 
as historians in the West, notably in France and England, have begun to do (e.g. 
Burke, 1978; Muchembled, 1978). For now, the history of the Baroque in the 
East Slavic lands must remain a story told of, as well as by and for, a more or 
less appreciative cultural elite. 

Works cited 

Alekseeva, T.V. and others. Russkoe iskusstvo barokko: Materialy i issledovaniia. 
Moscow, 1977. 

Angyal, A. Die Slawische Barockwelt. Leipzig, 1961. 

Antonova, V.N. and N.E. Mneva. Katalog drevnerusskoi zhivopisi Xl-nachala XVIII v. v 
Gos. Tretiakovskoi galleree, 2 vols. Moscow, 1963. 

Bialostocki, J. “Y eut-il une theorie baroque de Tart?” in A. Cielecka, ed., Barocco fra 
Italia e Polonia. Warsaw, 1977. 

Braudel, F. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, 2 
vols. Trans. S. Reynolds. New York, 1972. 

Burke, P. Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe. New York, 1978. 

Chanturiia, V. A. Istoriia arkhitektury Belorussii: dooktiabrskii period. Minsk, 1969. 

Chyzhevsky, D. (Cizevskij). History of Russian Literature from the Eleventh Century to 
the End of the Baroque. The Hague, 1960. (Tschizewskij) “Das Barock in der 
russischen Literatur,” in Tschizewskij, ed., Slavische Barockliteratur I. 
Munich, 1970. (Cizevsky) Outline of Comparative Slavic Literatures. Boston, 
1952. Istoriia ukrainskoi literatury. New York, 1956. 

Drage, C.L. Russian Literature in the Eighteenth Century. London, 1978. 

Eremin, I.P. “Poeticheskii stil Simeona Polotskogo,” in Trudy otdela drevne-russkoi 
literatury 6 (1948). Simeon Polotskii. Izbrannye sochineniia. Moscow, 1953. 

Gorokhova, R.M. “Torkvato Tasso v Rossi XVIII veka,” in M.P. Alekseev, ed., Rossiia 
i zapad: iz istorii literaturnykh otnoshenii. Leningrad, 1973. 

Grabar, I.E. and others. Istoriia russkago iskusstva, vols. 2 & 4. Moscow, 1909, 1914. 

Russkaia arkhitektura pervoi poloviny XVIII veka: issledovaniia i materialy. 
Moscow, 1954. 

Grabowicz, G. “Toward a History of Ukrainian Literature,” in Harvard Ukrainian 
Studies 1, no. 4 (1977). 

Hamilton, G.H. The Art and Architecture of Russia. Baltimore, 1975. 

Hernas, C. Barok. Warsaw, 1973. 

Hewryk, T.D. The Lost Architecture of Kiev. New York, 1982. 

Hordynsky, S. The Ukrainian Icon of the Xllth to XVIIIth Centuries. Philadelphia, 1973. 

Hughes, L.A.J. “Byelorussian craftsmen in late seventeenth-century Russia and their 
influence on Muscovite architecture,” Journal of Byelorussian Studies 3, no. 4 


James Cracraft 

(1976). “Western European Graphic Material as a Source for Moscow 
Baroque Architecture,” Slavonic and East European Review 4, no. 4 (1977). 

Likhachev, D.S. “Natsionalnoe edinoobrazie i natsionalnoe raznoobrazie,” Russkaia 
literatura, no. 1 (1968). “Barokko i ego russkii variant XVII veka,” Russkaia 
literatura, no. 2 (1969). 

Lukomsky, G. “Ukrainskii barokko,” Apollon, no. 2 (1911). 

Milobgdzki, A. Architektura polska XVII wieku, 2 vols. Warsaw, 1980. 

Morozov, A.A. “Problema barokko v russkoi literature XVII-nachala XVIII veka 
(sostoianie voprosa i zadachi izucheniia),” Russkaia literatura , no. 3 (1962). 
“Natsionalnoe svoeobrazie i problema stilei (K izucheniiu drevnerusskoi 
literatury i literatury XVIII veka),” Russkaia literatura , no. 3 (1967). 

Muchembled, R. Culture populaire et culture des elites dans la France moderne (XV- 
XVI lie siecles ). Paris, 1978. 

Nekrasov, A.I. and others. Barokko v Rossii. Moscow, 1926. 

Ohloblyn, O. “Western Europe and the Ukrainian Baroque,” Annals of the Ukrainian 
Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U.S. 1, no. 2 (1951). 

Pumpiansky, N. “Trediakovskii i nemetskaia shkola razuma,” in V.M. Zhirmunsky, ed., 
Zapadnyi sbornik, I. Moscow and Leningrad, 1937. 

Rogov, A.I. and others. Slavianskoe barokko: istoriko-kulturnye problemy epokhi. 
Moscow, 1979. 

Segel, H.B. “Baroque and Rococo in Eighteenth-Century Russian Literature,” in 
Canadian Slavonic Papers 15, no. 4 (1973). The Baroque Poem: A 
Compararative Survey. New York, 1974. 

Shmit, F.I. and others. Russkoe iskusstvo XVII veka: sbornik statei. Leningrad, 1929. 

Souckova, M. Baroque in Bohemia. Ann Arbor, 1980. 

Stech, V.V. “Rustikalisierung als Faktor Stilentwickelung”, in XHIe Congres 
international d’histoire de Part: Resumes des communications presentees au 
congres. Stockholm, 1933. 

Tomassoni, I. Per una ipotesi barocco. Rome, 1963. 

Tsapenko, M. Arkhitektura Levoberezhnoi Ukrainy XV II -XV III vekov. Moscow, 1967. 

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von Faber du Faur, C. German Baroque Literature: A Catalogue of the Collection in the 
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The Mask of Culture 


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George G. Grabowicz 

Ukrainian-Russian Literary Relations in the 
Nineteenth Century: A Formulation of the 

Since my avowed concern is with formulations, I should state at the outset 
that from my perspective the relation between Ukraine and Russia is not that of 
an “encounter,” even a “historical encounter,” but something much more 
intimate and long-lasting — in the language of Soviet pathos, a historical and 
indissoluble embrace or, as others might see it, a Sartrian No Exit. At the same 
time, since this article follows my earlier discussion of Polish-Ukrainian literary 
relations (which was also first presented in this same hospitable setting), I 
should stress that from the perspective of modem Ukrainian history and 
literature the Russian-Ukrainian relationship is undoubtedly the more central, 
and, especially in the nineteenth century, incomparably more complex . 1 My 
concern here, as stated by the subtitle, is not with the entire range and massive 
contents of this relationship, but with the principles and concepts by which we 
can systematize and facilitate our understanding of it; a comprehensive 
treatment, one which is sorely needed, would require the dimensions of a 
monograph. But even at this preliminary stage, the broad implications, and the 
difficulties, of this undertaking are clear. They are best indicated by the fact 
that, apart from the chronological designation , 2 all the terms employed to de- 
scribe this investigation — not only “literary relations,” but above all the 
meaning of the words “Ukrainian” and “Russian” — require fundamental re- 

It is undoubtedly quite revealing of the present political situation that for all 
the attention devoted to Russian-Ukrainian literary relations, this question is 
hardly ever constituted as a scholarly, or conceptual, or theoretical problem. 
This is primarily, of course, the case in Soviet scholarship, where the 
relationship between Ukrainian and Russian literature — like any number of 
larger and smaller issues — is understood only within the confines of official 
ideology, of raison d’etat ; the content and the dimensions of this subject, as 
well as the approaches to it, are strictly circumscribed and watched over by the 
highest organs . 3 One hardly needs to be enlightened as to the nature of these 
strictures; they are, above all, the teleological (and millenarian-utopian) notion 
of the drive to unification between the Russian and Ukrainian peoples, and the 
implicit and explicit older brother/younger brother relation between them . 4 The 
major corollary to these roles, one that is invariably applied in actual historical 

Ukrainian-Russian Literary Relations 


exegesis, is that it was the progressive forces in both nations that furthered, and 
the reactionary forces that impeded, this unification. These dogmas, of course, 
are never far from any Soviet literary criticism or scholarship, but they become 
particularly obtrusive and stultifying in discussions of this relationship. Two 
illustrations may be in order here. In an article on Lesia Ukrainka and Russian 
literature of the 1880s and 90s, Oleksandr Biletsky turns to one of her poems, 
“Napys v pustyni,” a work clearly based on Shelley’s “Ozymandias” (and in 
fact typifying her penchant for elaborating the “great,” “Western” literary 
themes) and proceeds to argue that, if anything, the model here is provided by 
Nekrasov, not Shelley. “Before looking afar,” he says, 

we must look closer to home, and here, after all, in immediate proximity to Lesia 
Ukrainka, was the democratic Russian literature, both the older and the contem- 
porary, and this is what constitutes — along with the equally immediate Ukrainian 
literature — that closest of contexts, to which we must turn first when we study the 

What is so telling here, along with the undercurrent of traditional xenophobia, 
is that this argument is made by an otherwise serious and conscientious scholar, 
and one who is particularly well acquainted with Western literatures. The 
second example concerns the relationship of Belinsky to Shevchenko, and par- 
ticularly the ongoing attempt by the Soviet Ukrainian critic F.Ia. Pryima, 
among others, to attribute to Belinsky an unsigned, positive review of 
Shevchenko’s Kobzar and thus, in contravention of all existing evidence, to 
show that the Russian critic did, in fact, also express favourable opinions on the 
Ukrainian poet. 6 In answer to those Soviet scholars who were not swayed by 
Pryima’ s tenuous reasoning (and these included such eminent figures as 
M.K. Hudzii and Oksman), the critic Ie. Kyryliuk noted, unambiguously, that 
“we, Soviet scholars, must not forget that this essentially academic problem 
also possesses a current political aspect.” 7 The “theoretical” basis on which this 
not so subtle warning rests is precisely the dogma of the “progressive” writer 
and the imperative to trim the facts to the historiosophic scheme. 

In non-Soviet scholarship the question of Russian-Ukrainian literary 
relations is also hardly posed as a problem. For nationalistically minded 
Ukrainian critics the relationship is largely perceived as one of national 
antagonisms and not so much a literary relationship as one of political and 
social oppression. In general, the occasional Western studies that impinge on 
this subject turn to discrete, individual moments, and not to the entire 
phenomenon. One may argue, in fact, that since the Revolution no real attempt 
has been made to conceptualize this relationship, to treat it as a complex 
literary, cultural and historical problem. The early Soviet (in a very real sense: 
non-Soviet) works of Zerov or Fylypovych or Sypovsky turn to selected 
aspects, but not to the whole. 8 The major non-Soviet history of Ukrainian 
literature, by Dmytro Chyzhevsky, which in its Ukrainian version extends only 


George G. Grabowicz 

to the period of Romanticism, and in its English version treats “Realism” in a 
skimpy and idiosyncratic manner, is more attuned to the Western connections 
of Ukrainian literature, and is generally uninterested in the actual social and 
cultural context. 9 In short, a subject that attracted so much intelligent, 
unfettered and provocative attention in the pre-Revolutionary period — from 
Kulish, Kostomarov, Drahomanov and Franko, to name only the prominent 
Ukrainian critics — is now, a century later, either largely ignored or syste- 
matically distorted. 

For the purpose of this discussion, and with the intent of making a 
provisional model for a future, more thorough investigation, I would propose 
treating the Russian-Ukrainian literary relationship in terms of five separate 
rubrics or aspects: 1) The legacy and influence that an individual writer, 
primarily the belletrist, but also the critic or scholar, of one literature may have 
on the other. 2) The simultaneous, or, more rarely, the sequential participation 
of individual writers in both literatures. (This bilingual bridging of the two 
literatures is almost exclusively a characteristic of Ukrainian writers and, again, 
it applies to both the creative artist and the critic and scholar.) 3) The major 
historical events and developments, primarily pertaining to cultural politics, that 
affect and mould both the individual literatures and the relationship between 
them. These are, to be sure, extrinsic factors or moments — the suppression of 
the Brotherhood of Saints Cyril and Methodius, the Ems ukase of 1876, and so 
on — but they are certainly more than mere “historical background.” They are 
very much factors that determine the profile of Ukrainian literature and thereby, 
too, the nature of its relation to Russian literature. 4) The history of the various 
attitudes to this relationship, the attempts at conceptualizing the problem. This 
rubric is as fascinating as it is broad: it seems that anyone even remotely 
interested or involved in both Ukrainian and Russian literature also expressed 
an opinion on their interrelation, and these opinions range from scholarly and 
systematic studies to the occasional and scurrilous comments of publicists or 
agents provocateurs. A central theme here — one which cuts across such diverse 
fields as philology, linguistics, social and political ideology, administrative and 
educational policy, and so on — is the question of the “right” of Ukrainian 
literature and language to exist. The fifth and last rubric is a synthetic one, and 
its essence is not so much the historical data as the historiographic model. The 
specific concern here must be a functional periodization of nineteenth-century 
Ukrainian literature, in short, a means of systematizing the intrinsic history of 
the literature by focusing, on the one hand, on the appearance and disappear- 
ance of conventional literary norms and values (Classicism, Romanticism, 
Realism, and so on), and, on the other, even more intrinsically, on the 
underlying cultural sets and premises, the deep structures, so to speak. It is 
here, finally, that we can establish the more fundamental differentiae between 
the two literatures. 

Ukrainian-Russian Literary Relations 


These five categories, of course, are not always clear-cut, and they differ in 
their importance for literary history. The third category, for example, the realm 
of cultural politics, so to speak, underlies all the others, and in some respects is 
more the canvas than the subject of the picture. The fourth category, the broad 
gamut of opinions on the Ukrainian language and literature, and their “right to 
exist,” is as much a subject of Ukrainian intellectual history, or modem 
Ukrainian history tout court , as it is of literary history. It dramatically re- 
inforces the perception that the history of Ukrainian literature, and its relation 
to Russian literature, is much more than a literary matter. The second, 
seemingly natural and self-evident rubric, the content of which is the 
bilingualism of nineteenth-century Ukrainian writers, is actually profoundly 
problematical; the fact that until mid-century, and beyond, virtually all the 
Ukrainian writers also wrote in Russian suggests that in this period the distinc- 
tion made between Ukrainian and Russian as between two different, presuma- 
bly national literatures, may require rethinking. Each of these aspects, however, 
constitutes a valid frame of reference or strategy for approaching the many- 
faceted phenomenon in question; none of them can be ignored if the goal is a 
comprehensive treatment. And, indeed, with varying degrees of success, each 
has been so used at one time or another. In fact, there have even been attempts 
to examine the “deep structures,” that is, differences in the essential nature, the 
“national profile,” the make-up and function of the two literatures — but for the 
most part, these have been unsystematic and couched in metaphor rather than 
analytic judgment. 


The first category mentioned is by far the largest in terms of actual studies. 
In a sense, it is quite natural that the study of literary relations be focused on 
such moments as the influence or, generally, the resonance of a writer of one 
literary tradition with or in another, particularly a neighbouring literary 
tradition; this, after all, not only subtends a discrete set of facts, but also, on the 
face of it at least, a set of literary facts. It would seem to offer, in short, the 
most intrinsically literary approach to the subject. As reflected, for example, by 
Holdenberh’s survey of bibliographic sources for the study of Ukrainian 
literature, Soviet (i.e., Soviet Ukrainian) investigations of Russian-Ukrainian 
literary relations are totally dominated by this literary-historical paradigm: ex- 
cept for one bibliography of Russian literature in Ukrainian translation, and two 
bibliographies dealing with translations of the various literatures of the Soviet 
Union into Russian, all the works described are determined by the formula 
“N. N. and Ukraine” (the actual writers being, in alphabetical order, Gogol, 
Gorky, Korolenko, Lermontov, Maiakovsky, Nekrasov, Pushkin, Tolstoi, 
Turgenev, and Sholokhov ). 10 There is also, of course, the obverse of this, 
whereby a Ukrainian writer is examined in terms of his contacts with, his 
interests and reception in Russian literature. Not surprisingly — given the 


George G. Grabowicz 

objective, historical state of affairs, as well as the obligatory proportion of 
attention — the set is more circumscribed here, with the emphasis falling above 
all on Shevchenko;" beyond him, the focus is most often on such writers as 
Franko, Mymy, Hrabovsky, Kotsiubynsky, and a few others. 12 

In either case, the characteristic strength of the approach is the mass of 
factual data that is usually adduced. For example, in Pryima’s study of 
Shevchenko in nineteenth-century Russian literature, which examines Russian 
literary influences on Shevchenko and on early nineteenth-century Ukrainian 
literature as such, which deals with Shevchenko’s contacts with various Russian 
figures, his reception in Russian criticism and literary life, his legacy in Russian 
society and, in a word, the battle over Shevchenko, there is a wealth of useful 
references and facts. 13 Unfortunately, it is only raw data. That which purports to 
be the organizing theory or historiosophic conception is, as already suggested, 
only a reductive and crude dogma and teleology. 

No less a problem is the narrowness and selectivity of the focus. In the vari- 
ous contemporary Soviet studies on Shevchenko and Russian literature, be it 
Pryima’s monograph or the relevant article in the Shevchenkivskyi slovnyk, 
virtually all of the attention is devoted to the ideological side of the question 
(the critical pronouncements, the polemics, administrative or police measures, 
etc., etc.), but so central a moment — for the literary scholar — as the impact or 
resonance of Shevchenko’s poetics is seldom addressed. 14 A more general state- 
ment of this problem is that Soviet critics invariably treat the relationship in 
question not as that of a literature to a literature, but of a “progressive” 
literature to a “progressive” literature. That which remains outside this ex- 
clusionary paradigm, i.e., the ideas or the roles of those deemed to be 
“reactionary” (be they Ukrainian or Russian), is bracketed out, reduced to a 
caricature, or, most frequently, ignored. To this we shall return. 

One should, perhaps, qualify this judgment by noting that periods of 
political thaw bring with them a certain increase in critical and intellectual in- 
tegrity, and veracity. Thus in 1961, in a striking example of critical 
housecleaning, O. Biletsky denounced, among other distortions, the absurd 
lengths to which some critics had gone to make Shevchenko a “faithful 
follower” of the Russian revolutionary democrats, which included making him 
a follower of Dobroliubov, who at the time in question was in his early teens. 15 
These improvements, however, are only relative — and often very transitory. 
One can note, for example, that the same Biletsky, in an article on Pushkin and 
Ukraine that was originally written in 1938, but which received several 
redactions, the last, posthumously, in 1966, argued not only that Pushkin’s true 
counterpart and ally in Ukrainian literature was Shevchenko, but that Kulish, 
for whom throughout his life Pushkin was a model and an ideal to whom he 
devoted poems and whose works he imitated, was, in fact, Pushkin’s deceitful, 
ideological enemy. 16 So sweeping a distortion of historical and literary fact can 
only evoke our commiseration for the scholar who once felt obliged to make it, 

Ukrainian-Russian Literary Relations 


and later lacked the nerve to renounce it. 17 

The point of my argument is not ideological but methodological: the 
principal and unavoidable flaw of various studies juxtaposing the writer with 
neighbouring literature, be it qua “Pushkin and Ukraine” or “Panas Mymy and 
Russian literature,” is not merely that their ideological premises are so 
simplistic and reductive, nor even that the influence always seems to be in one 
direction (while one need not accept the official Soviet metaphor that 
Ukrainians invariably “learned from” and “followed” their Russian 
counterparts, there is little doubt, and certainly no shame in admitting, that the 
flow of literary models, theories and ideas was precisely from the imperial 
centre to the provinces). The problem with the critical paradigm in question is 
that in its implementation it leaves no room for, nor does it show any 
consciousness of, a literary system that would underlie and make sense of the 
manifold facts that are strung together in the critic’s narrative. A minor but 
telling illustration of the potential speciousness of a literary “fact” that is given 
without reference to its context occurs in the above-noted article on Mymy and 
Russian literature, in which the author argues that “one of the eloquent proofs 
of Panas Mymy’s loving relation to the culture of the Russian people was his 
fervent wish to celebrate in Ukraine, in 1902, the fiftieth anniversary of 
Gogol’s death.” 18 It apparently never occurred to the author that for Mymy 
Gogol may have been a Ukrainian writer. 

The system to which I am referring, of course, is not to be confined even to 
the whole set of the given writer’s attitudes, values and convictions. It is 
precisely the given literature’s values, norms and “interests” that must be 
conceptualized and, to the extent possible, reconstructed. In large degree this 
devolves on what the anthropologists would call “cultural readiness.” 19 And 
this, of course, works in both directions: just as the first attempt to translate 
Pushkin into Ukrainian — Hrebinka’s semi-burlesque rendition of “Poltava” 
— was a kind of cultural misunderstanding, so also the early (and indeed later) 
Russian perceptions of Shevchenko — even the extremely favourable ones — 
hardly perceived the qualities, the “cultural language,” that was so stunningly 
manifest to virtually all Ukrainians. In sum, without a sense of the cultural code 
into which the given elements (ideas, models, etc.) are being transposed, a 
discussion in terms of the paradigm of influence, or interest, or resonance, runs 
the high risk of being arbitrary and mechanical; by its very focus on an 
individual writer rather than on a broad social process, or a readership, it can 
only give a selective picture. 

Whereas the first rubric dominated discussions of Russian-Ukrainian literary 
relations, the second, pertaining to the manifest and unmistakable phenomenon 
of bilingualism, has been virtually ignored. Yet it is here, in the eloquent fact 
that to the middle of the nineteenth century, and beyond, virtually all the 
Ukrainian writers also wrote in Russian (frequently more than in Ukrainian), 
that we begin to see the outlines of the complexity of the problem before us. 


George G. Graboxvicz 

The few critical and scholarly comments that have been devoted to this 
problem have been tentative at best. Soviet critics who discuss Shevchenko’s 
Russian writings, for example, or those of Kvitka or Hrebinka, invariably see 
them as expressing an immanent (and “progressive”) drive for “unification” 
( iednannia ); 20 by way of further explanation, they may argue that turning to the 
Russian language was also motivated by practical concerns, in effect the desire 
for wider dissemination of their works. Every so often there appears the not 
insignificant argument that Russian was used (for example by the writers just 
named) to deal with themes that were broader and more general (e.g., social) 
than those usually dealt with in Ukrainian-language writings. Thus, for exam- 
ple, S.D. Zubkov says that the first reason that various early nineteenth-century 
Ukrainian writers turned to Russian when writing prose was that Ukrainian, 
confined as it then was to the level and style of burlesque, did not offer the 
breadth and subtlety of expression that the more developed system of Russian 
prose did. “The second reason,” he goes on, “may have been the desire to turn 
society’s attention to Ukraine. The recognition in Russian society of works by 
Ukrainian writers brought them out from a narrow, national frame and gave 
great social weight to the problems raised in these works .” 21 An equally typical 
claim is that of N.E. Krutikova: “Collaboration in Russian literature was also 
valuable in that it became for Ukrainian writers one of the paths for directly 
joining in the democratic and humanistic ideas of progressive Russian society 
and in [working for] the desideratum of national character ( narodnist ) and 
realism. This could not be reflected in their Ukrainian creativity. It is 
interesting to note, [however,] that Kvitka and Hrebinka were often much more 
radical in their Russian works ... the general tenor of Russian realist prose, its 
humanistic tendency, the spirit of challenging the destructive social norms had 
an emotional impact on the participants in this process and activated the better, 
democratic sides of their world-view .” 22 Similar examples could be produced at 
will. At this juncture, however, two moments should be pointed out. One, of 
course, is the turgid, rhetorical and ultimately vague mode of expression. While 
facts are introduced (but seldom truly marshalled according to a hierarchy of 
criteria), the interpretative matrix, as already noted, is much too crude for 
anything but the broadest generalizations. This, unfortunately, characterizes not 
only discussions of Russian-Ukrainian relations, but much of contemporary 
Soviet Ukrainian literary scholarship. The more important moment, to be sure, 
is the content of these judgments. They are characterized, among other things, 
by a more or less unconscious shifting of essential criteria. As we see in the 
statements of Zubkov, and in the general line of reasoning, the distinction that 
is addressed is the one between the imperial centre, with its consciousness, 
literary culture and values, and the provinces. This distinction, however, is 
“nationalized,” in effect, presented as that of “Russian” vis-a-vis “Ukrainian.” 
As we shall see below, this leads to one of the most profound and widespread 
misconceptions in the approaches to the problem at hand. 

Ukrainian-Russian Literary Relations 


For non-Soviet Ukrainian critics, the Russian-language writings of Ukrainian 
writers are most often treated as something of an embarrassment, like a 
skeleton in the closet; for some they are a hedging on the writer’s national 
commitment. For many others, including most Western critics, this is largely a 
terra incognita. For virtually all, however, language is seen as determining 
literature: what is written in Russian belongs in the category of Russian 
literature. (While there is ambivalence about some works — for example, one 
detects a certain reluctance on the part even of Soviet critics to call 
Shevchenko’s Russian-language Zhurnal [Diary] a part of Russian literature 
— there also seems to be a growing willingness in some recent works to 
designate such writings as part of Russian literature, pure and simple). 23 That 
this is not an ideological judgment, but a reflection of a much deeper cognitive 
set, is attested by the revealing fact that even in the very liberal 1920s, when 
any number of “sensitive” literary and cultural matters were investigated, the 
linguistic basis for the demarcation between Russian and Ukrainian literature 
remained unchallenged. 24 

The matter must now be addressed directly and forcefully: as important as it 
is, the linguistic basis cannot be accepted as the ultimate determinant of a 
national literature — and if it is, the inevitable result will be precisely the 
confusion we encounter in the history of Ukrainian literature and in the ques- 
tion of Russian-Ukrainian literary relations (particularly of the early nineteenth 
century). As I have argued elsewhere, 25 the use of the language criterion to 
determine a literature is not only faulty in its logic (and in effect a continuation 
of the Romantic, or, more precisely, Herderian identification of a people [Volk] 
and its spirit [Volksgeist] with its language), but is also, notwithstanding the 
absence up to now of a clearly articulated counter-argument, not at all followed 
in scholarly and literary-historical practice. For by relying solely on language 
as a criterion one would not be able to demonstrate the continuity of various 
literatures as they shift linguistic mediums (for example, from Latin to the 
vernacular, as in the case of Polish or Hungarian), or the separate identity of 
different literatures sharing the same language (e.g., English, American, 
Canadian), or, finally, the selfsameness of a literature, like Turkish, which, de- 
pending on its genre system, uses various linguistic vehicles (in this case 
Persian, Arabic and Turkish). In the case of Ukrainian literature — compounded 
as the matter is by the absence of an authoritative institution, be it a state or an 
Academy of Sciences — this confusion, which is essentially based on a 
dissociation of literature from its social context, has led to radical misconstruc- 
tions of historical reality. 

Having rejected the Romantic and quasi-metaphysical notion of literature as 
the emanation (the “spirit”) of a “nation”, i.e., a Volk and a Volksgeist, we must 
replace it with what I take to be a more rational, and certainly more empirical 
definition of literature as a reflection, product and function of a society. As 
such, “literature,” or, more precisely, literary products and processes reflect that 


George G. Grabowicz 

society and serve its needs; the structures and the mode of existence of a 
society are reflected in its literature. If that society is, among other things, 
bilingual, so too will be its literature. At various times in its history, this has 
been (not entirely uniquely) the peculiar fate of Ukrainian literature. In the 
multinational Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth the use of the lingua franca, 
Polish — depending on genre and function — did not signify rejection of one’s 
identity. (We see it used, for example, in a panegyric by one Ukrainian 
churchman [Ivan Velychkovsky] to another [Lazar Baranovych]. The 
“patriotism,” the Ukrainian “national” and literary consciousness of the former 
can hardly be doubted.) The same applies to the Russian Empire and its lingua 
franca — it applies, that is, up to that time, somewhere in the last third of the 
century, when after the ground-breaking works of Shevchenko and Kulish, the 
system of Ukrainian literature came to shift to a monolingual basis. 

To hold the contrary, I submit, is to misread history. If “Ukrainian literature” 
is understood simply as literature in Ukrainian, or, in other words, if no distinc- 
tion is made between the literature in Ukrainian and the literature of Ukrainian 
society, then it must follow that since in the first three decades of the 
nineteenth century there is little Ukrainian-language literature to speak of, there 
was at that time little if any Ukrainian society. Now, although the question of 
when the modem Ukrainian nation came into being is arguable, there is no 
denying that a Ukrainian society — and not just a peasant mass — did exist and 
did satisfy its literary needs, although only partially and at first, as it were, only 
informally in the Ukrainian vernacular. And it is precisely the middle and upper 
levels of that society — and not the narod, the peasant mass — that produced 
(with but a few notable exceptions, primarily Shevchenko) the writers and 
activists who effected the national revival of the nineteenth century. It must be 
stressed, however, that the identification of “Ukrainianness” with “peasant- 
hood” or “muzhikdom” (i.e., the narod) — which is, in effect, the indentification 
that determines the equation of “Ukrainian literature” with literature written in 
the Ukrainian vernacular, the “language of the people” — was made not only by 
those, like Belinsky, who were hostile to the Ukrainian national revival, but by 
the very mainstream of that revival, i.e., the spokesmen of narodnytstvo, above 
all Kostomarov. To this, too, we shall return. 

In sum, it is essential to recognize that a large body of works written in 
Russia, from the Istoriia Rusov to the later writings of Kulish and Kostomarov, 
are part of Ukrainian literature. Such a reformulation carries with it some 
important consequences. One is the task of determining the criteria of 
redefinition. As I have argued elsewhere , 26 this is a synthetic judgment, 
involving above all the cultural context, and not at all a mere discrimination of 
ethnic origins. To take one rather clear-cut example, V.G. Korolenko, who was 
ethnically Ukrainian, who lived much of his life in Ukraine and in his writings 
often turned to a Ukrainian subject matter, can hardly be considered, and 
indeed in no serious quarters is considered, a Ukrainian writer. A very different 

Ukrainian-Russian Literary Relations 


situation, however, obtains in the case of Gogol, the one writer who best 
exemplifies some of the complexities of Russian-Ukrainian literary relations. 
Gogol has been considered a Ukrainian (as well as a Russian) writer in the past 
(and not only, as we shall see, by nationalistic revisionists), and he indeed 
should be so considered now. Again, the basis for this judgment lies not in his 
ethnic origin or in his use of Ukrainian themes (although neither element is 
insignificant); still less is it a question of territorial ties. (After all, Shevchenko 
himself spent only a fraction of his mature, creative life in Ukraine.) In fact, 
while all these moments — language, thematic focus, ethnic origin and even 
territorial ties — may play a greater or lesser role, the issue of whether a given 
writer is, as in this case, a Russian or a Ukrainian writer must be resolved with 
finer tools than any one, or any combination, of these criteria can provide. 

The case of Gogol is, of course, too involved to allow for a comprehensive 
answer in the framework of this overiew. At the same time, he is too important 
a presence for us not to attempt at least a preliminary resolution. It is clear, at 
any rate, that historically, in his own lifetime and throughout the nineteenth 
century, Gogol was considered a Ukrainian writer (as well as a Russian one). In 
one of the first academic histories of Ukrainian literature of the nineteenth 
century (written, it must be noted, from a position of all-Russian loyalism), 
Nikolai [Mykola] Petrov treats Gogol at length (along with such writers as 
Maksymovych, Bodiansky, Hrebinka and Storozhenko) in a chapter entitled 
“Ukrainian Nationalism or the National School in Ukrainian Literature.” For 
Petrov, to choose only the most explicit formulation, “Gogol, who contains in 
his Ukrainian stories all the elements of earlier and contemporary Ukrainian 
literature, appears as a worthy culmination of the new Ukrainian literature in 
the first period of its development.” 27 In his history, which takes the form of a 
book-length critique of Petrov’s study, M.P. Dashkevych finds fault with many 
of his predecessor’s formulations, but not those concerning Gogol as a 
Ukrainian writer. For him, “in the figure of Gogol Ukrainian creativity 
decisively directed all-Russian literature [obshcherusskuiu literaturu] onto the 
path of naturalism.” 28 More than two decades earlier, the polemic between 
Maksymovych and Kulish concerning Gogol, carried on in Osnova and other 
journals, implicitly placed Gogol at the very centre of the Ukrainian literary 
process. 29 And some twenty-odd years before that, N.A. Polevoi, in his attack 
on Ukrainian literature as something artificial and anachronistic, singles out 
Kotliarevsky and Gogol as the culprits who started this futile and perhaps 
harmful exercise. “The followers of Kotliarevsky and Gogol,” he argues, 
“revealed the comic side of the notion of the artificial creation of independent 
Ukrainian poetry, and of the idea that Ukraine can be the subject of drama, epic 
and lyrical poetry, the novel, and such narratives as would form a separate 
literature; [in fact! all this constitutes only a particular element of all-Russian 
poetry and literature.” 30 


George G. Grabowicz 

It should be obvious here that these various attitudes, while revealing a 
consistent climate of opinion, also raise as many questions as they answer. For 
one, on the level of methodology, they remind us that the historian’s task is to 
critically re-evaluate the historiographic formulas of the past, and not merely 
accept them if they prove convenient. 31 Our concern here, however, is 
specifically with the existence of a consensus and not with the validity of the 
judgments it contains. In terms of the substance of these attitudes, it must be 
noted, of course, that for all these scholars or critics Gogol was also, and for 
some primarily, a Russian writer. (Kulish, perhaps more than others, was 
willing to stress this fact. In his various writings on Gogol, beginning with his 
“Ob otnoshenii malorossiiskoi slovesnosti k obshcherusskoi” (the epilogue to 
Chorna rada ), he sees Gogol’s greatest achievement in the fact that he opened 
the eyes of Great Russian, or “North Russian” society to Ukraine and its past, 
that through his talent he made his homeland an object of charm and interest, 32 
that he furthered the friendship between the two peoples, and, not least of all, 
that he made a tremendous linguistic impact on the Russian language, ex- 
panding and indeed shifting its basis. 33 ) For all of them, moreover, the central, 
though in varying degree conscious and explicitly stated premise is that being a 
Ukrainian writer and a Russian writer is not mutually exclusive, that like Gogol 
one can exist with such a dvoedushie. This consensus was manifest throughout 
much of the nineteenth century. In time, however, there came a shift in the 
mainstream of opinion and indeed in the operant categories. There occurred, in 
short, a fundamental “nationalization” of cultural and political life and 
consciousness. In his psychologically oriented study of 1909, D.N. Ovsianiko- 
Kulikovsky now speaks of Gogol as an obshcheruss na malorusskoi osnove , 34 
Later, in Soviet treatments, and also in the West, even this osnova is hardly 
considered: Gogol is simply and straightforwardly seen as Russian writer who 
happens to be of Ukrainian origin. 

To argue that Gogol is a Ukrainian writer does not, of course, mean that we 
are turning back the clock of history; we are not trying to resurrect the attitudes 
and the overall state of national consciousness in Ukraine and Russia of a 
century ago. It is essential, however, for us to be able to reconstruct these 
attitudes and consciousness, or, more generally, the prevailing cultural set 
precisely in order to reconstruct with any confidence the nature of the two 
literatures — Russian and Ukrainian — as systems. For it is only in terms of the 
overall system of the literature that we can answer the question of whether a 
given writer participates in it, or “belongs” to it. To approach the issue by 
attempting to determine whether the writer, in this case Gogol, is a “Ukrainian 
writer” is problematical not only because the criteria involved (blood, language, 
themes, etc.) are particular, but also because the very idea of what it is to be a 
Ukrainian writer (and indeed a “Ukrainian”) is in a state of becoming. 35 The 
literature taken as a system — while clearly also a dynamic, evolving pheno- 
menon — provides a much more concrete and testable set of criteria for 

Ukrainian-Russian Literary Relations 


resolving the problem at hand. 

The most concrete evidence that Gogol is also a Ukrainian writer is provided 
by critical praxis: his writings — especially, of course, the early Ukrainian 
stories, but, to some extent at least, his later works, like Revizor or Mertvye 
dushi as well — are not fully comprehensible without reference to the context of 
Ukrainian culture and its traditions and Ukrainian literary culture and its 
traditions . 36 For our present purposes, more important than the adequacy of 
critical perception and interpretation is the literary-historical aspect — the 
literature as a set of norms and values, as a system. And here it is clear that in 
that historical period, roughly from Kotliarevsky to Shevchenko (and somewhat 
beyond), Gogol’s work is quite consistent with the norms, values, and concerns 
of Ukrainian literature. The reliance in one set of genres of Ukrainian literature 
of that time — from the Istoriia Rusov to Shevchenko’s Zhurnal — on Russian as 
a natural medium is quite evident (and these works have traditionally been 
considered — present Soviet revisionism aside — as part of Ukrainian literature). 
Gogol’s gamut of literary, historical, and folkloric associations and subtexts, his 
formal and comic devices, his range of metaphor and symbolism, in short, any 
number of features of his poetics partake of the system of Ukrainian literature 
of the time. At the same time it must be noted that Gogol departs — with time, 
more consciously and consistently — from this system and moves into an all- 
Russian one. This movement is expressed not just by overt themes (the urban, 
above all) and concerns (the problem of the artist), or by conscious ideological 
formulations (the emphasis on an all-Russian patriotism as revealed, for exam- 
ple, in the second redaction of Taras Bulba), but most of all perhaps by his 
sense of a broad all-Russian audience, a sense, to be sure, that is already 
implicit in his Ukrainian stories. This shift does not invalidate our argument, 
however. As a writer Gogol participates in both literary systems. Beyond that it 
is clear that at that time it was in the nature of the all-Russian, imperial literary 
culture to include the Ukrainian, and for Ukrainian, conversely, to be part of, to 
participate, to a large if not total extent, in the imperial literary culture. 

In the course of the second half of the nineteenth century this relationship 
was fated to undergo substantial change. At the turn of the century, around the 
time that the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences determined officially that 
Ukrainian was a language and not a dialect, the all-Russian literary culture 
became simply the Russian literary culture, and the option of bilingualism 
ceased to exist. 

A further, not unimportant, consequence of our focus on bilingualism is that 
of noetic precedent, so to speak: having performed this reformulation we may 
be more conscious of, and more ready to accept, the fact that such constructs as 
“national literature” (be it Ukrainian or Russian), just like the notions of 
“literary period” (Classicism or Romanticism), are above all historiographic 
formulas that periodically require rethinking. 


George G. Grabowicz 


The third rubric, as I have noted, is more the domain of social, political and 
intellectual historians. In touching upon it here we are again reminded to what 
extent the Ukrainian literary phenomenon is coterminous with the social and 
political one. Moreover, insofar as traditionally nothing that occurs in Russia is 
outside the interest of the government, the literary domain is also a state matter, 
indeed also a matter of state security. Clearly, though, what I am speaking of 
here are Ukrainian-Russian relations as they pertain to literature, that is, 
Ukrainian literature, and not specifically literary relations. 

The range of moments that enter this picture, that is, the various events and 
decisions — political, administrative, educational, police, etc. — that affect and 
shape Ukrainian literature is both large and heterogeneous. It involves such 
matters as the decisions to open a university in Kharkiv and Kiev, to prosecute 
the Brotherhood of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, and of course the decision, first in 
1863 and then more forcefully in 1876, to ban the use of the Ukrainian lan- 
guage and to stifle Ukrainian literature and the separatism that the government 
saw lurking in it. I shall focus briefly on the latter step and its profound literary 

In one sense, the Ems ukase of 1876 can be seen as the most definitive, 
unequivocal statement in the ongoing debate in Russia about the right of the 
Ukrainian language and literature to exist and develop. The damage this 
decision did to Ukrainian literature and culture, particularly mass education, is 
indubitable. But its ultimate effect was quite different from that originally 
intended. Without overdramatizing the matter, and with all due care not to 
oversimplify the complex historical picture, one could argue that the most 
important consequence of this act was to shift Ukrainian literature out of the 
provincial mode. This is not at all to argue that at that moment Ukrainian 
literature — in its thematic range, artistic sophistication, conscious Weltan- 
schauung, etc. — became any less provincial than it may have been. In range 
and complexity and sophistication the ethnographic realism of a Mymy or a 
Nechui-Levytsky could still hardly be compared to the realism of a Tolstoi or a 
Dostoevsky. But this is not the point, nor is this the kind of comparativism that 
I consider productive. The point is twofold. In concrete practice Ukrainian 
writers from the Russian Empire now turn to Galicia to publish their works and 
in so doing not only begin the arduous process of unifying two heretofore 
separate Ukrainian literatures (and, to a certain extent, languages), but also — 
volens nolens — expand their consciousness, their field of vision, beyond the 
bounds of the Russian Empire. Probably as important, however, were what I 
would consider the structural implications of this act. For by deciding to 
proscribe (for all practical purposes, if not by law) the pursuit of Ukrainian 
literary activity the Russian government was implicitly removing it from the 
status of provincial literature and reclassifying it as something “subversive,” 
“separatist,” proto-nationalist. It goes without saying, of course, that these 

Ukrainian-Russian Literary Relations 


qualities must already have existed — more or less openly, as in Shevchenko, or 
in potentio. Only the time-table of their germination and fruition was unknown. 
But the administrative act, and its brutality, could not but bring this issue to a 
head: after the Ems ukase the option of being a Ukrainian-provincial writer in 
the mould of a Kotliarevsky or Kvitka, that is, reconciling one’s language and 
themes and emotions (the “Ukrainian” component) with one’s circumscribed 
political, social and intellectual horizons and one’s loyalty to the state (the 
“provincial” component) was no longer feasible. It is highly ironic, of course, 
that precisely then, as an apparent response to this new situation, two new 
models of a provincial-adaptive response were being formulated — Kulish’s 
“homestead mentality” (khutorianstvo) and Kostomarov’s programme of “a 
literature for home use,” primarily for the edification and education of the 
masses. These, however, were only defensive reactions; they were not a 
prognosis of the reaction of the coming generation of Ukrainian writers. 


The issue we confront now, the range of conceptualization of the problem of 
Ukrainian-Russian literary relations, could easily take up, as I have suggested, 
an entire monograph, let alone a single paper. It would take that much merely 
to summarize the opinions of such thinkers and writers as Drahomanov, 
Kostomarov, Kulish or Belinsky, or of such scholars as Pypin, Petrov and 
Dashkevych, not to mention a host of minor publicists. Here again my task, as I 
see it, is to outline the major formulas. 

The first subset in this broad category is, as already noted, the long-standing 
debate in both Russian and Ukrainian writings on the “right to life” question. It 
is quite paradoxical that the first voices expressing doubt about the future of the 
Ukrainian language (let alone literature) were those of Ukrainian writers — 
Maksymovych, Metlynsky, even Kostomarov, indeed even Kulish in his early 
novel Mikhailo Charnyshenko. This stance, which was largely a function of 
Romantic melancholy and nostalgia for a passing way of life, was dispelled by 
the appearance of Shevchenko. The Russian reactions to Shevchenko, particu- 
larly that of Belinsky, put the matter with new directness. While the opinions 
on the Kobzar of 1840 were largely favourable, the prospect of Ukrainian 
literature , especially a literature not merely confined to local colour or the low 
genres (travesty, burlesque, etc.), evoked more reservations than enthusiasm. 
Belinsky’s consistently negative reaction to Shevchenko was occasioned 
precisely by his principled opposition to literary “separatism” and the political 
separatism that it necessarily implied. 37 In time the debate was joined by a host 
of major and minor figures, 38 but it soon became quite academic — not so much 
because of the decisions of 1863 and 1876, but because, as Drahomanov put it 
so well, discussing the right of Ukrainian literature to exist was beside the 
point — what mattered was whether it existed. 39 And however flawed or 
unsatisfactory its appearance, exist it did. 


George G. Grabowicz 

The actual discussions and conceptualizations concerning the nature of 
Ukrainian literature, and therefore, inevitably, also its relation to Russian 
literature can generally be divided into the analytical-descriptive and the 
prescriptive; not infrequently, especially in the writings of Drahomanov, the 
two categories overlap. The descriptive approach, beginning with Kulish’s 
perceptive and provocative overview, “Ob otnoshenii malorossiiskoi slovesnosti 
k obshcherusskoi,” culminated in time in a series of scholarly histories of 
Ukrainian literature, most of them written by Russians: Pypin and Spasovich, 
Petrov, and Dashkevych. 40 Already the second edition of Pypin and Spasovich’ s 
history shows a growing commitment to the discipline and, of course, the belief 
that its object is real, alive and permanent. By the time of Dashkevych’ s 
history, the discipline and the phenomena it deals with are treated as entirely 

The major prescriptive model, one that is in principle shared, despite various 
divergences, by all the major Ukrainian participants in the discussion (Kulish, 
Kostomarov, Drahomanov, Nechui-Levytsky, and Hrinchenko), is that Ukrain- 
ian literature is and should be a literature for, by and of the people. Russian 
literature, by contrast, is, in their general consensus, a cosmopolitan or imperial 
literature and one which largely, if not primarily, reflects the concerns and 
perspectives of a ruling class, indeed a state. Ukrainian literature is and should 
be democratic and concerned with the lot of its broad constituency. The most 
extensively argued and at the same time the most radical expression of this idea 
appears in the writings of Kostomarov, for whom the prime and sufficient 
cause for the birth and growth of Ukrainian literature is precisely this concern 
for speaking to and of the people, the narod, in a language they understand; this 
could not and cannot be done in Russian. 41 

Drawing on ideals posited earlier by Kulish and Kostomarov, Drahomanov 
proceeds to systematize the notion of a fundamental class-based (and class- 
oriented) differential between the two literatures into a model which, I would 
submit, still holds considerable heuristic validity. As formulated in a long 
article entitled “Literatura rosiiska, velykoroska, ukrainska i halytska” (1873), 
he argues that within the one Russian state there are two Rus’ nations (an echo 
of Kulish and Kostomarov) and three literatures: the all-Russian (obshche- 
russka) imperial literature, one created by the combined efforts of Ukrainians as 
well as Russians; the Great Russian literature which expresses the ethnic 
nature, concerns and spirit of the Great Russians; and finally the Ukrainian 
literature. 42 For all its difficulties, the model is useful, particularly for 
highlighting the shift in literary systems that occurs in the course of the first 
half of the nineteenth century, that is, the “nationalization” of what had been an 
imperial supra-national literature (and, as Kostomarov would argue, a supra- 
national language as well) into its constituent national components. Again fol- 
lowing Kulish and Kostomarov, Drahomanov believes that in this one 
respect — the shift to popular-based, “national” (narodna) literature — Ukrainian 

Ukrainian-Russian Literary Relations 


literature preceded Russian, and even, to some small extent, served as a model 
for this transition. 

At the same time, however, more than any contemporary, Drahomanov is 
aware of the great differences in artistic quality and range, in simple matters of 
quantity, that exist between the two literatures. For him, nineteenth-century 
Ukrainian literature is undeniably a child of Russian (not Great Russian) 
literature, and for the foreseeable future destined to be its provincial appendage; 
as such its entirely honourable task is to learn from it and grow with it. The 
alternative, as he argues at length in his polemics with those, i.e., Nechui- 
Levytsky and Hrinchenko, who would hermetically separate Ukrainian 
literature from Russian and stress its national uniqueness, is both provincialism 
and self-induced stagnation . 43 This we shall now place in a broader context. 


The final, and probably the most central issue in this discussion, is the 
interaction, and before that, even more basically, the differentiation between 
Russian and Ukrainian literature as systems. The importance of this for the 
history of nineteenth-century Ukrainian literature can hardly be overstated: 
while the conclusions drawn here may be far from insignificant for our under- 
standing of Russian literature, they are vastly more important for Ukrainian 
literature, for it is primarily in its relation to Russian literature, and especially 
in the changes that occur in this relationship, that the character of Ukrainian 
literature is defined. 

The deep differences between the two literary processes become most appar- 
ent when we postulate a common scheme of periodization. Thus, while in 
Russian literature there is a well-established tradition of dealing with the 
nineteenth century simply by decades (a device that Iefremov borrows for his 
history 44 ), the use of such arguably more intrinsic categories as Classicism, 
Romanticism, Realism, and so on is not only widely encountered in practice, 
but is also justified in principle. The same scheme can hardly be said to 
apply — certainly not with the same degree of “fit” — to Ukrainian literature . 45 
Ukrainian Romanticism, to choose the one period that offers the greatest 
typological similarity, is still essentially different from Russian Romanticism ; 46 
the difference is even more pronounced in the case of Realism (and indeed has 
led some critics generally to qualify the Ukrainian phenomenon as “ethno- 
graphic realism”). In the case of Classicism, it is very much an open question 
whether that phenomenon — as a distinct period, as a distinct poetics and set of 
norms and values in Ukrainian literature — actually existed apart from Russian 
(i.e., all-Russian, imperial) literature. 

What is really at issue here is not the invariable time lag, the “delayed” 
appearance, and the greater or lesser dependence of the Ukrainian phenomena 
on the analogous Russian phenomena, or indeed models; it is not a matter of 
the generally smaller, more circumscribed range of works and forms (the fewer 


George G. Grabowicz 

talents, as some would say) appearing in Ukrainian literature; and it is not, 
speaking now on a more intrinsic level, the generally narrower register of 
themes and concerns (the Byronic theme and stance, for example, a central 
component in both Polish and Russian Romanticism, is scarcely evident in 
Ukrainian Romanticism). The issue is rather with the totality of the system, that 
is, with the operant dynamics or rules that are always, persistently, remolding 
all the constituent literary phenomena and relations. 

Despite the twin dangers of tautology (the preceding is true of all systems, 
of course) and of nominalism (i.e., the ostensible willingness to see Ukrainian 
literature as something sui generis), this assertion must be maintained: the sys- 
tem and the dynamics of Ukrainian literature differ much more from (in this 
case) those of Russian literature than the conventional literary-historical 
categories (“Romanticism,” “Realism,” etc.) allow us to perceive. 

The differences in question are perhaps best revealed in the nature of the 
given system’s transitions. In Russian literature, for example, the shift from 
Classicism to Romanticism, or Romanticism to Realism, is reflected, first of all, 
on a broadly differentiated gamut of genres and individual works; to speak of 
the movement from, say, Classicism to Romanticism is to speak about changes 
in the entire fabric and in the very essence of Russian literature. Secondly, it is 
a shift that is eminently conscious. It is argued and elaborated in a highly de- 
veloped critical literature and in a host of programmatic statements, polemics, 
etc. Thirdly (and this may also be taken as an extension of the preceding 
moment), the given shift in values, norms and conventions resonates with an 
actively involved audience. There is, in short, a differentiated readership, con- 
siderable sectors of which are not only generally sophisticated but also 
specifically attuned to the aesthetic and formal aspects of literary creativity. 

The picture in Ukrainian literature is radically different. In the analogous 
time-frame (for example, the onset of Romanticism), Ukrainian literature not 
only shows a narrower base, as I have already noted, but also one that has little 
if any differentiation. On the contrary, in the various publications of this time, 
especially the “almanacs ,” 47 there is a marked tendency toward literary 
syncretism: all differences of style or approach are subordinated to the primary 
fact of participating in the new Ukrainian literature. By this same token, there is 
hardly any discussion, let alone polemic, concerning the premises and practice 
of the new poetics, be it Romanticism or Realism ; 48 there is a small core of 
critical commentary, but it is almost exclusively focused on the basic 
“existential” questions — the validity of Ukrainian as a literary language, the 
need and the right of Ukrainian literature to exist — and not on such 
“secondary” matters as that literature’s aesthetic or formal profile . 49 Finally 
(and this again is only the obverse of the same coin), the audience for 
Ukrainian literature is only peripherally attuned to the aesthetic and formal 
dimension. This is so, it must be stressed, only in their expectations, in their 
cognitive and emotional set, with regard to Ukrainian literature ; in its 

Ukrainian-Russian Literary Relations 


sophistication and aesthetic requirements this same audience can be one with 
the all-Russian readership when the object is the overarching imperial literature. 
Thus, most importantly, it is the mental set and the function of literature that 
are different here, with the Ukrainian phenomenon expressing above all the 
thematic, the phatic, and the cathartic components of literary communication. 

It is more than apparent, of course, that such categories as Classicism, 
Romanticism, and Realism do not adequately convey the internal dynamics of 
Ukrainian literature; they do not constitute genuine phases of its historical de- 
velopment, and to compare the two literatures, or even to speak of their 
interaction only, or even primarily, in this framework is to misconceive the 
historical reality. 

What is the “historical reality” in nineteenth-century Ukrainian literature? 
Or, to return to the arguments begun above, what structures are revealed in this 
system’s essential transitions? The answer, sketchy though it may be, must lie 
in a new model of periodization, the primary basis for which are precisely those 
factors — above all those reflecting the cultural context, but also the social and 
political — that are missing from the conventional schema of literary periods. 

The three periods that I would postulate here are of very unequal duration. 50 
The first, and by far the longest, lasts from the beginnings of modem Ukrainian 
literature to the time of Shevchenko; the traditional termini that one would 
invoke here are 1798, the year of the publication, in St. Petersburg (!), of 
Kotliarevsky’s Eneida, and 1861. The former date, however, is only symbolic, 
for the publication of Kotliarevsky’s travesty, without his knowledge or 
approval, was in many respects an anomaly, an accident, and as a process 
modem Ukrainian literature can be said to begin only around the 1820s. The 
latter date, 1861, does indeed mark a clear divide: not only the death of 
Shevchenko, but also the appearance of the first and highly important 
Ukrainian literary and cultural journal, Kulish’s Osnova. The second period, 
therefore, has a clear beginning, but its end is much less distinct — it falls 
somewhere in the late 1880s or early 1890s. The last period thus also begins 
somewhat indistinctly, but it ends, quite clearly, with World War I and the 

The literary and cultural content of these periods is much more important, of 
course, than the dates of demarcation, and here, while risking some 
schematism, we can perceive the following general patterns. The first period, 
lasting well over half a century, is a time of beginnings and of self-discovery. It 
is the discovery of one’s ethos (Kotliarevsky’s Eneida ), of literary forms and 
conventions (sentimental, pre-Romantic and Romantic), of history and folklore. 
This element of discovering or of initiating, where virtually every major literary 
work introduces a new form, 51 where the very potential of the language as a 
literary medium is being continually tested, 52 and where there are few if any 
literary traditions to fall back on, clearly supersedes, as I have argued above, 
any differentiation by literary style or Weltanschauung. (The writer Hulak- 


George G. Grabowicz 

Artemovsky, who is as willing to pattern himself on the Polish Classicist 
Krasicki as on the Polish Romantic Mickiewicz, is a telling case in point.) 
These features must also lead us to question the traditional recourse of 
subdividing this early period into the pre-Shevchenkian and the Shevchenkian, 
with 1840, the year of the appearance of the first Kobzar, as the date of 
demarcation. For while one cannot overestimate the importance of Shevchenko, 
his work, in terms of the criteria I am stressing here, only continues and 
culminates the process of literary and national self-discovery and self-assertion. 

The essential and perhaps, at first glance, paradoxical concomitant of this 
process is that in this period Ukrainian literature reveals itself in many respects 
as a provincial phenomenon. All the Ukrainian writers also write in Russian; 
virtually all of them also publish in all-Russian periodicals. More to the point, 
they show quite clearly — at the very least in their choice of subject matter and 
of tone or level of discourse — that they write differently for the all-Russian and 
the Ukrainian audience. This is not to contradict our earlier conclusions 
concerning bilingualism; a great number of Russian-language works of 
Ukrainian authors should indeed be considered part of Ukrainian literature, and 
the author's sense of his audience should not by itself determine our under- 
standing of the literary-historical phenomenon. At the same time, the sense that 
for virtually all these writers Ukrainian literature was a subset of imperial, all- 
Russian literature is inescapable, and this does define both their self-awareness 
and the nature of this literary phase. For that matter, in political terms, for all 
the Ukrainian writers of this period Ukraine is part of Russia. Characteris- 
tically, Shevchenko is the only exception, and a partial one at that: he rejects 
this verity in the visionary and mythical modality of his Ukrainian poetry, but 
he surely accedes to it in his Russian prose. What is more, his immensely 
influential poetic statement on the relationship of Ukraine to Russia, and, 
specifically, on the future of his nation, is couched in millenarian terms; as I 
have argued elsewhere, were it to be translated into the language of political 
thought it would constitute a radical anti-statist populism, or even anarchism. 53 
Thus, in effect, the thought of this entire period, including the utopian- 
Slavophile program of the Brotherhood of Saints Cyril and Methodius, and in- 
cluding Shevchenko, is distinctly pre-political. As such it corresponds to the 
provincial, pre-national tenor of the literature of this time. 

The real issue of this argument, however, is to be found not in the 
intellectual or political background but in the literature itself, in its internal 
make-up and distribution of functions. In short, the provincial character of early 
nineteenth-century Ukrainian literature is reflected above all in its system of 
genres, where, especially in the earliest phase, there is a specialization in the 
“low” or popular genres (mock-epic, travesty, fables, etc.) and a virtual absence 
of the “high” (ode, tragedy, epic, etc.). It is precisely this state of affairs that 
led Chyzhevsky to speak of this literature as “incomplete.” 54 In time, this 
“imbalance” was redressed — on the one hand, by the normal broadening and 

Ukrainian-Russian Literary Relations 


development of the literature, and, on the other, more immediately, by the 
levelling and “democratizing” tendency of Romantic norms (which norms, even 
while not totally determining the overall profile of Ukrainian literature at this 
time, were never insignificant). Nevertheless, throughout this first period, some 
functions or genres were never represented: such “high” genres as, for example, 
the philosophical meditation that one associates with Tiutchev, translations of 
the broad range of literary forms (this despite the early interest in translations 
by such writers as Hulak-Artemovsky and Borovykovsky), and, above all, 
literary criticism and theory. The latter is the most revealing “structured 
absence.” Not only was there little if any literary criticism, i.e., of the various 
discussions about the nature and function of literature that so characterized the 
Polish and Russian scene, but little if any polemics. If polemical notes are 
heard they are almost invariably reactions to skeptical remarks voiced by Great 
Russians 55 — and this absence of critical heterodoxy, and the concomitant (if not 
fully articulated) sense of external threat and internal self-sufficiency (with the 
strength and inspiration to come from the roots, the narod), are, again, the 
strongest indicators of the undifferentiated and provincial cast of the Ukrainian 
literature of this time. 

Given this profile, we can speak of Ukrainian-Russian literary relations in 
this period only in a very qualified way; at any rate, this is emphatically not a 
relationship between two clearly defined national literatures, say English and 
French, or Polish and Russian, but rather one between two soft-edged entities, 
with one of them in many respects a subset of the other. It must be 
remembered, however, that just as Russian literature is at this stage an imperial 
literature with an ever more pronounced national basis, so also Ukrainian 
literature is then a provincial literature progressively discovering its 
national — not provincial — past, and future. Both entities, in short, are in a 
process of transition. In this configuration, moreover, it is most difficult to 
speak of the one moment in the relationship which has traditionally drawn the 
most attention — namely, the question of influence. In fact, it can be argued that 
as the two systems are crystallizing the issue of influence becomes marginal. 
On the one hand, it is clear that in Russian literature the interest in things 
Ukrainian is highest in the first decades of the nineteenth century, and reaches 
its apogee in the 1820s and — especially in terms of historicist interest — in the 
writings of the Decembrists; Gogol is the climax before a rapid, decline. The 
subsequent, thorough discussion — above all by Belinsky — on the course of 
Russian literature as a national literature finds little room for questions of 
Ukrainian themes, models or influences. In Ukrainian literature, on the other 
hand, the very development of the awareness of a separate identity militates 
against accepting others’ models — even, or perhaps especially, those of the 
“older brother.” It is only in the subsequent period that this resistance to 
Russian literary influences was expressed consciously and programmatically; 
now it expresses itself informally and emotionally 56 — but it is no less real, and 


George G. Grabowicz 

no less structurally central. And it is one of the clearest failings of Soviet 
scholarship that so central (and historically “normal”) a structure in the literary 
process is either ignored or denounced as retrograde “nationalism.” 57 

The second period in the schema I am proposing here is very much a 
transition: it is both a continuation of and a departure from the preceding 
period. Its onset plainly coincides with the activity of Kulish’s Osnova 
(1861-2); indeed his “Ob otnoshenii malorossiiskoi slovesnosti k obshcheruss- 
koi” (1857) is already a harbinger of a new stage in the literary process. The 
most important feature of this period, precisely as signalled by Kulish’s 
epilogue-essay, is that what had only recently been largely an aggregate of 
literary works, and a relatively small circle of writers, 58 has now become a 
literature. It has become this not so much by sheer quantitative growth as by 
the emergence of new literary traditions (above all, Shevchenko’s) which, while 
challenging older models (i.e., Kotliarevshchyna), introduce differentiation and 
new vitality. In general, many of the lacunae of the preceding period are filled 
in, most significantly, perhaps, in the range of translations (and in literary 
criticism). 59 The above-discussed Ems ukase of 1876, coming as it does at what 
is nearly the exact midpoint of the period, spells the end of the political option 
of a provincial literature; and the subsequent contacts with Western Ukraine, as 
well as the phenomenal growth of its journals and publications, signal the first 
stages of a truly national literature. Taken as a whole, however, the period from 
the early 1860s to the early 1890s shows a literature that is neither fully 
provincial nor fully national. In the matter of bilingualism, for example, the use 
of Russian by Ukrainian writers (in Russian Ukraine, of course) is much less 
pronounced than before, but it is not rare; it is still quite common in literary 
criticism (especially when a broad audience is intended — as, for example, in 
various articles by Drahomanov), 60 and it is occasionally used in belles-lettres, 
e.g., by Marko Vovchok, Kulish, Hanna Barvinok, Storozhenko, Svydnytsky, 
Hlibov, Konysky and others. (It is worth noting that all these are writers of the 
older generation; their younger colleagues, such as Nechui-Levytsky, P. Mymy, 
Karpenko-Kary, et al . , write only in Ukrainian. It is even more important to 
note, however, that this residual bilingualism is also to be found in Western 
Ukraine, where, for example, Iu. Fedkovych writes some early poetry in 
German and Franko some prose in Polish. We are thus dealing with a general 
structure in the development of Ukrainian literature, and not something specific 
only to the Russian sphere.) 

The writers’ attitudes on or conceptualizations of Ukrainian literature vis-a- 
vis the Russian also reveal this as an era of transition. The picture here, to use 
the favourite terms of Marxist-Leninist pseudo-exegesis, is complex and 
contradictory. But rather than leave it at that pass, or adjudicate it in terms of 
progressives vs. reactionaries, we can elaborate briefly on our preceding 
discussion of prescriptive stances by postulating a model that distributes the po- 
sitions in question. As I see it, these positions — each of them fundamentally 

Ukrainian-Russian Literary Relations 


concerned with the relationship of Ukrainian to Russian literature — divide 
along two axes, which I will provisionally call the “political” and the modal. 
On the “political” axis the opposition is between “federalists” and “nationalists” 
(in effect, protonationalists), between those like Drahomanov and Kostomarov 
who saw Ukrainian literature, in the present and the foreseeable future, as 
having to exist in a partnership, indeed a professedly junior partnership with 
Russian literature, and those like Hrinchenko, Nechui-Levytsky and, to a lesser 
extent, Kulish, who saw the essence and future of Ukrainian literature in its 
opposition to Russian literature, and in a precondition of full autonomy and 
freedom from influences. (Again it must be stressed that the term “political” is 
used here more by way of analogy, to suggest the primacy of either coexistence 
or opposition in the respective positions, and not as a description of the 
intrinsic character of these positions.) Cutting across this axis and sharply 
separating the — in some respects — very unlikely bedfellows that are produced 
here is the modal axis, as I have called it. The opposing modes may be consid- 
ered, again in a somewhat approximate way, as the Positivist and the Romantic. 
It is the opposition between, on the one hand, those like Drahomanov and 
Kulish who emphasize universal cultural and literary values, the world and 
attitudes of learning and Enlightenment, and who actively and indefatigably 
work on realizing concrete, “organic” achievements, who are, in a word, 
unalloyed Kulturtragers, and, on the other, those like Kostomarov, Hrinchenko, 
Nechui-Levytsky and others who are animated above all by an emotional, 
indeed nativist commitment to things Ukrainian and who in a very real sense 
(though characteristically not altogether consciously) place Ukraine, or rather 
the Ukrainian narod, on a separate, implicitly superior existential plane, where 
its cultural and literary existence becomes virtually self-sufficient. (It is quite 
clear, of course, that the major legacy animating this stance is that of 
Shevchenko, and that this perspective on the narod and its needs draws 
generically on his vision of a holy communitas . 61 It is also very indicative that 
the earliest, and to this day perhaps the sharpest challenges to this vision and its 
ominous implications for “normal,” structured nationhood were made precisely 
by Kulish and Drahomanov.) 

Thus we can postulate a fourfold schema produced by two intersecting and 
equally important axes of oppositions. In one quadrant, so to speak, is the posi- 
tion manned by Kostomarov. His idea of Ukrainian literature as a “literature for 
home use” is in this period the most conservative, old-fashioned and, very 
soon, the most discredited stance. Its origins are deeply rooted in Kostomarov’s 
populism ( narodnytstvo ) and can be traced throughout his writings from the 
1842 “Obzor sochinenii pisanykh na malorossiiskom iazyke,” through his 
articles on Marko Vovchok (1859) and Shevchenko (1861), to his late works. It 
is presented most directly in his introduction to the section on Ukrainian 
literature in Gerbel’s 1871 anthology of Slavic poetry. 62 The basic argument of 
this essay is one we have encountered before: Ukrainian literature is a literature 


George G. Grabowicz 

for and about the people; its very raison d'etre is to be accessible to the narod 
and to teach the educated about the narod. Thus for him the desire to raise the 
Ukrainian language to the level of an “educated” language, to present in it the 
works of a Byron or a Mickiewicz, is artificial since, on the one hand, the all- 
Russian language is as much Ukrainian as it is Great Russian, and, on the other, 
since the narod , in effect the peasantry, have no need for such writings. The 
elaboration of these positions in the several articles published in the early 
1880s 63 is also clearly motivated by a desire to defend Ukrainian literature and 
the Ukrainian movement ( Ukrainofdstvo ) — if necessary by dissimulation — 
from official Russian harassment and persecution. 64 It is not surprising that this 
(all too typically Ukrainian) effort at mimicry and accommodation was seen, 
for example by Drahomanov, as a form of opportunism; 65 later, more 
nationalistic and more perfervid critics were much harsher in their judgement. 
And yet the balanced view, as signalled many times by Drahomanov himself, 
and later so eloquently by Hrushevsky, is to see Kostomarov above all as a 
major architect of the Ukrainian renascence of the first half of the nineteenth 
century. His later views, specifically on the role of Ukrainian literature in 
connection with the Russian, reflect not only the tenacity with which he held to 
his earlier Slavophile, federalist, and populist positions, but also his deeply 
emotional, almost nativistic and transnational understanding of the Ukrainian 
cause, and within that of Ukrainian literature. 66 

Drahomanov’ s position (our second, adjoining quadrant) is on the same side 
as Kostomarov’s in view of his belief, as we have already seen, that Ukrainian 
literature is a “child” of all-Russian literature and that for the foreseeable future 
its opportunities for growth and development lie with the latter. At the same 
time, his position is on the other side of the modal axis by virtue of his 
quintessential rationalism and positivism. While he is a “federalist” like 
Kostomarov (though for him, of course, the overarching context is now 
socialism), and while he, too, places major stress on the obligation that 
Ukrainian literature has before the narod , Drahomanov is adamant about its 
need to grow and expand, to become as “educated” and sophisticated as 
possible — drawing first on the immediate and ready Russian model, but 
optimally on what for him is the universal standard, i.e., the European. In 
Drahomanov, and later mutatis mutandis in his disciple Franko, the cause of a 
creative interaction with Russian literature, an openness to the best — in effect 
the progressive and realist — strains that its highly developed tradition can offer, 
finds its strongest advocate. 

The antithesis to this stance, in our scheme a quadrant that is diagonally 
opposite to Drahomanov’ s “positivist federalism” but adjacent to Kostomarov’s 
nativist variant, is the position of such writers as Nechui-Levytsky and 
Hrinchenko. It was, of course, inevitable that it would be with them that 
Drahomanov conducted his most basic polemic, 67 for to his “federalism” and 
socialism they counterposed an elemental nationalism, while his rationalism 

Ukrainian-Russian Literary Relations 


and positivism were countered by their emotional and intuitive patriotism. As 
much as they could be charged, and were indeed so charged by Drahomanov, 
with a lack of any clear political program, their stance with regard to 
Ukrainian-Russian relations in the literary sphere was unambiguous: as 
expressed at greatest length by Nechui-Levytsky in his “Siohochasne literatume 
priamovannia” (1878) and then Ukrainstvo na literaturnykh pozvakh z 
Moskovshchynoiu (1891), it was a program of separation and self-sufficiency. 
Far from being a potential model, Russian literature was alien in its 
cosmopolitanism and often the very weapon of denationalization. The essence 
and the racial (!) basis of Ukrainian literature is its native, folk poetry, and this 
literature will grow without the aid, and indeed despite the oppression, of the 
Russian state. 68 This, in fact, is a central thesis of the latter highly discursive 
and chaotically conceived essay (in effect a book-length polemic with Pypin’s 
review of Ohonovsky’s history of Ukrainian literature) 69 : Ukrainian literature 
can exist and develop without statehood, while a literature with the patronage 
of a state — emblematically the Russian — is not thereby rendered any more 
viable or attractive. 70 Here, both the facile compounding of the notions of 
literature and state, and, even more, the ultimately metaphoric understanding of 
nation and of national literature reveal a species of Romantic and nativist 
thought. 71 

The fourth position, occupied by Kulish, contiguous on one side with the 
“nationalist” position of Nechui-Levytsky and Hrinchenko and on the other 
with the positivism of Drahomanov, and constituting the total antithesis of 
Kostomarov, is in some respects quite problematical (and thus not a very 
proportionally situated quadrant). It presupposes that we focus primarily on 
Kulish’ s later views (and not on his early, seemingly unqualified narodnytstvo), 
and, beyond that, that we consider his actual literary efforts as more important 
than his various pronouncements. Given this, Kulish, for all his contradictions 
and inconsistencies, can be seen as a precursor of the later, essentially 
twentieth-century understanding of Ukrainian literature. Although his under- 
standing of the national cause was certainly more cultural than political, his 
thinking, in its concern for the essentially Ukrainian, is in the final analysis 
more “nationalist” than “federalist”; much more clearly, his openness to literary 
influences and models, be they Russian or European, the range of his 
translations, and his fundamental concern for a rational and structured, not 
metaphysical and nativist, cast to Ukrainian literature and culture place him on 
the same side with Drahomanov and later writers and critics. It is not at all 
surprising that during the renascence of Ukrainian scholarship in the 1920s, 
precisely when a linkage was made between national culture and structures of 
statehood, Kulish was one of the most studied and commented figures of the 
nineteenth century. 

For all their (to be sure, schematically highlighted) differences, these four 
positions all share a common basis — all are more or less determined by the 


George G. Grabowicz 

premises of narodnytstvo, and the Ukrainian cause in general, and literary 
matters in particular, are perceived largely in terms of the narod and its needs. 
A shift from this state of affairs becomes evident in the 1890s and comes to 
characterize the last period of nineteenth-century Ukrainian literature. In the 
literary sphere the central movement is the growing differentiation of the 
literary audience and the literature itself: the central literary figure of this 
period, the prose (!) writer Kotsiubynsky, is no longer addressing the narod , 
but the sophisticated reader; the modernist (and, of course, still very tentative 
and timid) premises of Vorony and later the Moloda muza constitute an open 
break with the aesthetic ideals of narodnytstvo and the imperative of the 
writer’s civic duty. In the political sphere this period is marked by nothing less 
than the crystallization of national consciousness; in practical matters this is the 
attainment of sobornist , the establishment of a consensus, and the co-ordination 
of efforts between Ukrainians living under Russian and Austro-Hungarian 
rule; 72 in symbolic terms this is the highly significant change in self- 
designation: “conscious” Ukrainians are no longer called, or call themselves, 
Ukrainofily — they are now simply “Ukrainians.” 73 The Ukrainian cause is no 
longer the property of a small circle of intellectuals, the object of a sect, but a 
growing national movement. 

The emergence of a national, differentiated literature, the disappearance 
— indeed the structural impossibility — of bilingualism, produces a radical 
transformation in Russian-Ukrainian literary relations. These relations continue 
to have and to increase their ramifications, their various points of contact, 
interaction, mutual influence, etc. But now the partners in this exchange are on 
more or less equal footing. For some decades — at least until the depredations of 
the Stalinist thirties — Ukrainian literature and Russian literature become 
commensurate entities. 


1. Cf. “The History of Polish-Ukrainian Literary Relations: A Literary and Cultural 
Perspective," Poland and Ukraine: Past and Present, ed. Peter J. Potichnyj 
(Edmonton and Toronto, 1980), 107-31. 

2. As we shall see below, in Ukrainian literature, as in so many others, the 
nineteenth century extends up to the period of the First World War. 

3. Emblematic of this is the first chapter of L. I. Holdenberh’s Bibliohrafichni 
dzherela ukrainskoho literaturoznavstva (Kiev, 1977), entitled “Osnovopolozh- 
nyky Marksyzmu-leninizmu pro literaturu. KPRS i ukrainska literatura.” 

4. Compare, for example, the very title of one milestone collection of articles: 
Rosiisko-ukrainske literaturne iednannia (Kiev, 1953). Characteristically, the 
rhetoric is always more turgid on the Ukrainian side: the earlier (slightly smaller) 

Ukrainian-Russian Literary Relations 


Russian edition of this collection was simply Russko-ukrainskie literaturnye sviazi 
(Moscow, 1951). 

5. Oleksandr Biletsky, “Lesia Ukrainka i rosiiska literatura 80-90-x rokiv,” Zibran - 
nia prats u piaty tomakh (Kiev, 1966), 4: 605. 

6. A thorough discussion of this matter is given in Victor Swoboda’s “Shevchenko 
and Belinsky,” Shevchenko and the Critics 1861-1980 (Toronto, 1980), 303-23. 

7. Cf. ibid., 323. 

8. Cf. M. Zerov, Nove ukrainske pysmenstvo (Munich, 1960) [originally published in 
Kiev, 1924]; P. Fylypovych, “Shevchenko ta ioho doba,” in Literatura (New 
York, 1971) [originally published in Kiev, 1925]; and V. Sypovsky, Ukraina v 
rosiiskomu pysmenstvi (Kiev, 1928). 

9. Cf. Dmytro Chyzhevsky, A History of Ukrainian Literature (Littleton, 1975) and 
my Toward a History of Ukrainian Literature (Cambridge, Mass., 1981). 

10. Cf. Holdenberh, op. cit., 54-62. 

11. Cf., e.g., F. Ia. Priima, Shevchenko i russkaia literatura XIX veka (Moscow, 

12. Cf. the articles in Rosiisko-ukrainske literaturne iednannia: M. P. Pyvovarov’s 
“Panas Myrnyi i rosiiska literatura,” le. P. Kyryliuk’s “Ivan Franko i rosiiska 
literatura,” O. I. Kyseliov’s “Pavlo Hrabovskyi i peredova rosiiska kultura,” and 
L. D. Ivanov’s “Literaturnyi protses v Rosii 90-900-kh rr. i tvorchist M. 

13. Op. cit.; cf. also his popularizing Shevchenko i rosiiskyi vyzvolnyi rukh (Kiev, 
1966). This pattern, where the Ukrainian version is the popular, and the Russian 
the scholarly one, is not at all uncommon. 

14. See, for example, Shevchenkivskyi slovnyk u dvokh tomakh (Kiev, 1977). 

15. See O. Biletsky, “Zavdannia i perspektyvy vyvchennia Shevchenka,” Zbirnyk 
prats deviatoi naukovoi Shevchenkivskoi konferentsii (Kiev, 1961), 13-25. 

16. See O. Biletsky, “Pushkin i Ukraina,” Zibrannia prats u piaty tomakh (Kiev, 
1966), 219-28. 

17. Timing, or, if one prefers, consonance with the latest stage of Marxist-Leninist 
teaching is of crucial importance here: Biletsky, who died in 1961, simply did not 
live to see, and take advantage of the — partial, to be sure — rehabilitation of 
Kulish in 1969 (i.e., with the publication of Panteleimon Kulish, Vybrani tvory, 
Kiev, 1969). 

18. Pyvovarov, op. cit., 303. 

19. The first to use this concept in Ukrainian literature, without naming it as such, 
was P. Fylypovych. 

20. See for example, S. D. Zubkov, Russkaia proza G. F. Kvitki i E. P. Grebenki v 
kontekste russko-ukrainskikh literaturnykh sviazei (Kiev, 1979). The premises and 
the — to a large extent predetermined — conclusions of this study are stated 
succinctly at the end: “The analysis of the entire Russian corpus of Kvitka and 
Hrebinka, taken in its historical development and with due consideration of little- 
known publications and new material, gives irrefutable support to the 
thesis — which is important both in the literary-historical and the ideological 


George G. Grabowicz 

sense — that their turning to the Russian language was natural and organic and 
that their participation in Russian literature was fruitful. It also serves to 
persuasively reject bourgeois-nationalist conjectures that distort the true picture of 
the relation of the two brotherly literatures in the past, of their [drive to] 
unification” (p. 268). 

21. Ibid., 12. 

22. Shliakhamy druzhby i iednannia: rosiisko-ukrainski literaturni zviazky (Kiev, 
1972), 19. 

23. Cf. Zubkov, op. cit., passim. 

24. See for example Fylypovych’s review of Sypovsky’s study (footnote 8 above), 
where a number of minor points are touched upon, but the major question of what 
literature and literary tradition some of the works belong to is not discussed; 
Literatura: zbirnyk pershyi (Kiev, 1928), 254-8. 

25. Cf. Toward a History of Ukrainian Literature, 98-100. 

26. Ibid., passim. 

27. N. I. Petrov, Ocherki istorii ukrainskoi literatury XIX stoletiia (Kiev, 1884), 

28. N. P. Dashkevich, “Otzyv o sochinenii g. Petrova ‘Ocherki istorii ukrainskoi 
literatury XIX stoletiia’,” Zapiski imperatorskoi akademii nauk, vol. 59 
(St. Petersburg, 1889), 99. On the next page Dashkevych speaks of Gogol as “a 
great Ukrainian writer”; cf. also p. 56, where he speaks of Ukrainian literature in 
general and mentions in one breath Gogol, Kvitka, Storozhenko and Levytsky. 
However, he does not agree with Petrov’s inclusion of Gogol among the writers 
of the “national school”; cf. pp. 134-9 and passim. 

29. Cf. M. D. Bernshtein, Ukrainska literaturna krytyka 50-70-x rokiv XIX st. (Kiev, 
1959), pp. 1 16-17 and passim. 

30. See Biblioteka dlia Chteniia, 1838, cited in Dashkevich, op. cit., 39. 

31. Cf. my “Some Further Observations on ‘Non-historical Nations’ and ‘Incomplete’ 
Literatures: A Reply,” Harvard Ukrainian Studies V, no. 3 (September 1981): 

32. Compare Kostomarov’s comment: “That [the experience of reading Gogol’s 
Vechera na khutore bliz Dikanki and Taras Bulba ] was perhaps the first 
awakening of that feeling toward Ukraine which gave an entirely new direction to 
my activity. I read Gogol with a passion. I reread him and could not get enough 
of it: I don’t know — it occurred to me — how I could not see what was so close 
and all around me! I shall really have to learn it all!” Russkaia mysl, no. 5 (1882): 
202; cited in Dashkevich, op. cit., 72 n. 

33. Panteleimon Kulish, Vybrani tvory (Kiev, 1969), 482-3. This is subsequently 
echoed by B. Eikhenbaum, Lermontov (Leningrad, 1924), 135. 

34. See D. N. Ovsianiko-Kulikovsky, Sobranie sochinenii, tom I, Gogol (Moscow- 
Petrograd, 1923), especially chapter V: “Gogol — obshcheruss na malorosskoi 
osnove. K voprosu o natsionalnom-obshcherusskom znachenii ego,” 126-33. 

35. Thus, as seen above, the flexible, or indeed nebulous basis for determining 
Gogol’s Ukrainianness: for Petrov he is a Ukrainian writer of the “nationalist” 

Ukrainian-Russian Literary Relations 


orientation, i.e., one who focuses on the national past, on national-folk customs, 
etc.; for Dashkevych he exemplifies “Ukrainian creativity”; for Ovsianiko- 
Kulikovsky he is an ethnic Ukrainian presence in all-Russian literature and 
culture, etc. 

36. Much has been written on this; cf., among others, I. Mandelshtam, O kharaktere 
gogolevskogo stilia (Helsingfors, 1902), V. Gippius, Gogol (Leningrad, 1924), 
V. Chaplenko, Ukrainizmy v movi M. Hoholia (Augsburg, 1948), George S. N. 
Luckyj, Between Gogol’ and Sevcenko (Munich, 1971). 

37. Cf. Swoboda, op. cit. Cf. also George S. N. Luckyj, Between Gogol’ and 
Sevcenko, 70-7 1 . 

38. See P. K. Volynsky, Teoretychna borotba v ukrainskii literaturi (Kiev, 1959). 

39. M. P. Drahomanov, “Po voprosu o malorusskoi literature,” Literaturno-publitsy- 
stychni pratsi u dvokh tomakh (Kiev, 1970), 1: 371. 

40. See A. N. Pypin and V. D. Spasovich, Obzor istorii slavianskikh literatur 
(St. Petersburg, 1865) and Istoriia slavianskikh literatur (St. Petersburg, 1879); 
N. I. Petrov, Ocherki istorii ukrainskoi literatury XIX stoletiia, op. cit. and N. P. 
Dashkevich, Otzyv o sochinenii g. Petrova, op. cit. 

41. See his article, “Malorusskaia literatura,” in Gerbel’s Poeziia slavian (St. 
Petersburg, 1871), 157-63. 

42. Op. cit., 80-220. 

43. See, among others, his “Lysty na Naddnipriansku Ukrainu,” “Chudatski dumky 
pro ukrainsku natsionalnu spravu,” ‘“Nad Chornym morem: povist Ivana Levyts- 
koho,” and other essays in Literaturno-publitsystychni pratsi u dvokh tomakh, op. 

44. Cf. Serhii Iefremov, Istoriia ukrainskoho pysmenstva (Kiev-Leipzig, 1924). 

45. Cf. Toward a History of Ukrainian Literature. 

46. While stating this I still accept the literary-historical and typological validity of 
the notion of “Romanticism”; this is not the stand that Rene Wellek warns us 
about in his polemic with Arthur O. Lovejoy. Cf. “The Concept of Romanticism 
in Literary History” and “Romanticism Re-examined” in Rene Wellek, Concepts 
of Criticism (New Haven, 1963). 

47. Compare, for example, Lastivka of 1841, the subtitle of which is “Sochineniia na 
Malorossiiskom iazyke.” It includes such representatives of the classicist, 
burlesque tradition as Kotliarevsky and Porfyrii Korenytsky, the classicist- 
sentimentalist (and pre-Romantic) Kvitka, the early Romantics Borovykovsky, 
Chuzhbynsky, Zabila, and Pysarevsky (who also appears under his pen-name of 
S. Shereperia), Shevchenko and Kulish, and Hrebinka, the editor. The contents, as 
described on the title page, are also revealing: “Povesti i razkazy, nekotoryia 
narodnyia malorossiiskiia pesni, pogovorki, poslovitsy, stikhotvoreniia i skazki”. 

48. There is nothing resembling the “battle of the Classicists and the Romantics” that 
we see in Polish literature (cf. Walka romantykow z klasykami, Wroclaw, 1960) or 
in Russian literature (cf. “Russia/ Romaniceskij-Romanticeskij- Romantizm,” in 
‘Romantic’ and its Cognates, ed. Hans Eichner (Toronto, 1975), 418-74. 

49. Cf., For example, Shevchenko’s critical comments on Kotliarevsky in the preface 


George G. Grabowicz 

to the unpublished, 1 847 edition of the Kobzar. 

50. For present purposes, I am confining myself to Ukrainian literature in the Russian 
Empire. A consideration of western Ukrainian literature would require some 
adjustments, but the overall model does retain its validity. 

51. Many of these — the literary ballad, the Byronic poema, etc. — are, of course, also 
being newly discovered in Polish and Russian literature. 

52. The most frequently cited illustration of this is Kvitka’s “Letter to the publishers 
of Russkii vestnik ” (first published in Moskvitianin 6, no. 20 (1849): 327-34), 
where he notes that “I wrote Marusia to prove to one unbeliever that something 
gentle and moving can be written in the Ukrainian language.” “I wrote Soldatskyi 
patret, he continues, “to stop critics from explicating that of which they know 
nothing.” See Hr. Kvitka-Osnovianenko, Tvory u vosmy tomakh (Kiev, 1970), 8: 
96. Cf. also his letters to P. O. Pletnev (15 March 1839), A. O. Kraevsky (25 
October 1841) and others elaborating this same issue; ibid., pp. 140-^42, 258-60 
and passim. At the same time, one cannot but notice that these statements were 
made only in private correspondence, or, as in the case of the first letter, 
published posthumously. The forthright personal opinion did not translate into a 
literary-historical fact. 

53. Cf. my The Poet as Mythmaker: A Study of Symbolic Meaning in Taras Sevcenko 
(Cambridge, 1982), 134. 

54. My reservations regarding this term, and the theory behind it, are given in Toward 
a History of Ukrainian Literature and “Some Further Observations on ‘Non- 
historical Nations’ and ‘Incomplete’ Literatures: A Reply,” op. cit., passim. 

55. Cf. P. K. Volynsky, Teoretychna borotba v ukrainskii literaturi (persha polovyna 
XIX st.) (Kiev, 1959), 141-210 and passim. Shevchenko’s above noted criticism 
of Kotliarevsky is the exception that proves the rule. 

56. The quintessential examples here — characteristically expressed in poetry, not in 
critical discourse — are Shevchenko’s biting comments on Russian literary models 
in the prologue to his Haidamaky, e.g., “Spivai pro Matrioshu,/Pro Parashu, 
radost nashu,/Sultan, parket, shpory, — /Ot de Slava!!!” Cf. also Hrebinka’s intro- 
duction and epilogue to Lastivka, Kvitka’s letters, and so on. 

57. To be sure, the fetishization of such resistance by the nationalistically minded, its 
elevation to the role of prime determinant in the Ukrainian literary process, is 
equally wrong-headed. 

58. Cf. M. Maksymovych’s letter to D. Zubrytsky (22 April 1840), where he — still at 
this late date — states, “In our country one cannot have a literature in the South 
Russian language, we can only have, and do have, individual works — of 
Kotliarevsky, Kvitka (Osnovianenko), Hrebinka and others,” Halychanyn 1, no. 2 
(1863): 107-9; cited in P. D. Tymoshenko, Khrestomatiia materialiv z istorii 
ukrainskoi literaturnoi movy (Kiev, 1959), 1: 204. 

59. Kulish, with his translations of the Bible, of Shakespeare, of a host of 
contemporaries and classics is, of course, the prime Kulturtrager. 

60. It goes without saying that it is still the exclusive language of scholarship and 
theory — cf. the writings of O. O. Potebnia. 

Ukrainian-Russian Literary Relations 


61. Cf. The Poet as Mythmaker, passim. 

62. Poeziia slavian. Sbornik luchshikh poeticheskikh proizvedenii slavianskikh 
narodov v perevodakh russkikh pisatelei, ed. N. V. Gerbel (St. Petersburg, 1871). 

63. See “Malorusskoe slovo,” Vestnik Evropy, 1881, no. 1; “Ukrainofilstvo,’ Russkaia 
starina, 1881, no. 2; “Zadachi ukrainofilstva,” Vestnik Evropy, 1882, no. 2. 

64. Already in his article in Poeziia slavian (op. cit., 162), Kostomarov speaks of the 
1863 Valuev administrative decision forbidding the use of Ukrainian in non- 
belletristic writings as destroying Ukrainian literature; the 1876 Ems ukase was 
much more drastic, of course. See Fedir Savchenko, The Suppression of the 
Ukrainian Activities (Munich, 1970). 

65. Cf. “Lysty na Naddnipriansku Ukrainu,” Literaturno- publitsystychni pratsi, 1: 
452. Cf. S. Iefremov’s critical comments in his Fatalnyi vuzol (Kiev, 1910), and 
Dmytro Doroshenko, Mykola Ivanovych Kostomarov (Kiev-Leipzig, n.d.), 72-80 
and passim. 

66. Cf. Mykhailo Hrushevsky, “Kostomarov i Novitnia Ukraina,” Ukraina, vol. 3(12) 
(1925): 3-20. It is interesting to note, however, that there are some similarities in 
Drahomanov’ s and Kostomarov’s positions. They both share the belief that the 
Ukrainians were the first (and the Great Russians only followed suit) in rebelling 
against the lethargy of great-power bureaucracy, the ossification of structured 
society, etc. — in short, the above-discussed premise of the democratic principle in 
Ukrainian literature and culture (cf. Hrushevsky, ibid., 15). Both of them share a 
profound sense of disgust with Russian despotism, and though less pronounced in 
Drahomanov, he, too, shares with Kostomarov an undercurrent of anarchism. 

67. Cf. footnote 43, above. Joining the polemic, very much in the spirit of 
Drahomanov, was Ivan Franko; cf. his “Literatura, ii zavdannia i naivazhnishi 
tsikhy,” Molot, 1878, 209-15 (Ivan Franko, Tvory v dvadtsiaty tomakh [Kiev, 
1955,] 16: 5-13), an answer to Nechui-Levytsky’s “Siohochasne literaturne 
priamuvannia,” Pravda, 1878, nos. 1 and 2. 

68. I. Bashtovy [Nechui-Levytsky], Ukrainstvo na literaturnykh pozvakh z 
Moskovshchynoiu (Lviv, 1891), 122 and passim. 

69. See Omelian Ohonovsky, Istoriia literatury ruskoi (Lviv, 1878-93) and Pypin’s 
review: “Osobaia russkaia literatura,” Vestnik Evropy, September, 1890. 

70. Ukrainstvo na literaturnykh pozvakh z Moskovshchynoiu, 124-5. Indeed, Nechui- 
Levytsky is willing to draw on any source that supports his anti-statist argument. 
Thus: “The first founder and architect of the first temporal kingdom— so St. 
Augustine tells us — was Cain, the fratricide. He began building cities and laid the 
basis and the beginning of human statehood. On just such a fratricide was 
founded the city of Rome, which later became the capital of the world and which 
united in one state all the kingdoms of the world,” etc.; ibid., 142-3. Here, the 
connection to Shevchenko’s mythical thought, his dichotomy of structure and 
communitas as tantamount to the opposition of good and evil (cf. his “Saul”), is 

71. For example: “The state has the power only to expand the form and not the spirit 
or essence of literature, for the state is in itself only a form, while the nation, in 
the broad sense of the term, is a living force which has the power to create the 


George G. Grabowicz 

very content, the very spirit of literature, for it is in its nature a kind of living, 
creative force, a life force, like the life force of nature, which in ways unknown to 
us, drawing on its inexhaustible life forces, created forever and ever living beings, 
living creatures, living plants and living flowers.” Ibid., 124. 

72. Emblematic of this may be Hrushevsky’s transfer, in 1907, of the Literaturo- 
naukovyi vistnyk from Lviv to Kiev. 

73. Cf. the conclusion of Lesia Ukrainka’s letter to her uncle, Drahomanov, 17 March 
1891: “Speaking of which, I must say that we have rejected the term 
‘Ukrainophiles,’ and simply call ourselves Ukrainians, for that is what we are, 
without any “philism.” Lesia Ukrainka, Tvory v desiaty tomakh (Kiev, 1965), 9: 

Bohdan R. Bociurkiw 

The Issues of Ukrainization and Autocephaly 
of the Orthodox Church in Ukrainian-Russian 
Relations, 1917-1921 1 

Among the principal characteristics of Eastern Christianity has been a close 
interdependence of religion and ethnicity on the one hand, and a positive 
relationship between church and state on the other hand. Wherever state and 
nationality coincided (which was rare until the nineteenth century), the 
Orthodox Church in its institutional and social aspects has become a national 
church. Under such circumstances, sooner or later, the national state intervened 
to end ecclesiastical dependence on the “mother church” abroad, usually by 
unilaterally proclaiming autocephaly of the national church, since the previous 
ruling church centre often opposed the diminution of its flock . 1 

The doctrine of “symphony” of spiritual and temporal powers, given the 
state’s claim to sovereignty over its subjects, has generally led to a situation in 
which the physical preponderance of an autocratic state would result in the 
Orthodox Church’s subjection to the powers that be. Hence the caesaro-papist 
pattern of Byzantine history or the transplanted “Erastian” pattern of Peter the 
Great’s ecclesiastical reforms. 

Such a confluence of political and ecclesiastical authority could not but gen- 
erate serious problems, both political and religious, whenever the Orthodox 
Church happened to exist in a multi-national empire — Byzantine, Ottoman, or 
Russian — since the church generally identified itself with the dominant or 
favoured nationality (e.g., the Greeks in the Ottoman Empire) within the state. 
It was thus inevitable that, with the crystallization of national consciousness 
and the rise of nationalist movements among subject Orthodox peoples, 
strivings for national independence should sooner or later also produce 

*This paper is part of a larger project on contemporary Ukraine. The author would like 
to acknowledge the financial support received for this project from the Canadian 
Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta, the Shevchenko Foundation, 
and the Iwachniuk Ukrainian Studies and Research Fund at the University of Ottawa. 

All dates in the text will be given according to the New Style (Gregorian calendar), 
which was officially introduced by the Soviet Government on 1 February 1918, by 
redating it 14 February. Dates of periodicals are listed in the end notes in both the Old 
Style (Julian calendar) and the New Style until the adoption of the latter. 


Bohdan R. Bociurkiw 

demands for a separate, “national” and autocephalous church organization. 
Similarly, a nation’s loss of statehood tended to result in the surrender of its 
ecclesiastical independence and the transfer of church authority to the new 
political centre, as had happened, for example, with the Georgian Church fol- 
lowing Georgia’s annexation by Russia, or with an autonomous Ukrainian 
Church thirty-two years after the Treaty of Pereiaslav. 2 

As can be illustrated from Ukraine’s historical experience, this inter- 
dependence of ecclesiastical and political institutions had not only been caused 
by the church’s traditional dependence on the state for material support and 
protection against schisms and rival religions. It derived mainly from the 
integrating and legitimizing social functions performed by religion and the 
church with respect to political organization, structure and rules — functions 
crucially important in ethno-culturally heterogeneous empires as yet untouched 
by modernization and secular ideologies. From the viewpoint of political rulers 
of Ukraine, native or alien, their control of the church’s organization and 
political orientation was, therefore, deemed essential to the consolidation of 
their regimes. Depending on the location of the supreme political power, the 
church has played for the Ukrainian people, politically speaking, both “nation- 
building” and “nation-destroying” roles. As a rule, despite the church’s basic 
dogmatic and structural continuity, its canons have objectively served to 
reinforce the successive powers that be (expect for the first decade of Bolshevik 
rule). There is, accordingly, a peculiar ambiguity in the relationship between 
the Orthodox Church and nationality in modem Ukrainian consciousness, 
which, I believe, owes a great deal to the church’s increasingly “symphonic” 
relationship to the Russian state after the latter’s absorption of Ukraine. 

This article will focus on the period from 1917 to 1921, which witnessed the 
emergence of the national church movement that paralleled Ukraine’s evolution 
from autonomy to short-lived independence. The movement’s goals of 
Ukrainization (or de-Russification), autocephaly, and conciliarism (sobor- 
nopravnist) of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine brought it into an escalating 
confrontation with the powerful Russian ecclesiastical establishment. This 
conflict culminated in the secession from the Russian Orthodox Church of the 
main, if not all, elements of the movement and the formation, in 1921, of an 
independent Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church with a hierarchy and 
constitution that broke with established Orthodox canons. The issues of 
Ukrainization and autocephaly of the Orthodox Church, while “resolved” by 
Soviet fiat in Ukraine in favour of the Moscow Patriarchate, continue to divide 
Ukrainian and Russian churches in the West, as well as to separate the 
“nationally conscious” Ukrainians from their “non-conscious” brethren. These 
differences are not matters of merely theological and historical interest. They 
go to the very roots of Ukrainian-Russian relations, to the two-pronged ques- 
tion of the consummation of the modem nation-building process among the 
Ukrainian people, on the one hand, and the change from the Russian perception 

Ukrainization and Autocephaly 


of the Ukrainian people as a prodigal “younger brother” destined to be 
“reunited” with his “older brother” in one Russian “family” to the perception of 
Ukrainians as another, separate Slavic nation with a birthright to its own 
nation-state and its own, unique historical destiny, on the other hand. Only the 
resolution of these two interrelated questions can offer a firm foundation for a 
Ukrainian-Russian dialogue and co-operation, including the settlement of their 
ecclesiastical disputes. This article attempts to shed some light on the genesis, 
initial circumstances and self-perception of the movement for the Ukrainization 
and independence of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, in the hope that a frank 
exchange of views and a better knowledge of each other will enhance the 
chances of mutual understanding between Ukrainians and Russians. 

The Church and the Ukrainian Revolution 

The legacy of the long Russian domination over the Orthodox Church in 
Ukraine not only placed the latter outside the mainstream of the Ukrainian 
cultural and national revival but also made it into an ideological and institu- 
tional weapon of forces determined to block the evolution of the Ukrainian 
people toward nationhood and political independence. In the words of a 
prominent Ukrainian student of ecclesiastical affairs, Oleksander Lototsky, 

In the course of more than two centuries a system of Russification operated in 
Ukraine mainly by filling influential ecclesiastical posts with Russsifying 
elements — either native Muscovites. ..or Russified Ukrainians, who thanks to their 
natural ties with the Ukrainian environment excelled the Muscovites in carrying 
out the policy of Russification within the church in Ukraine. Metropolitans and 
bishops, without exception, belonged to this category of ecclesiastical leaders 
strained though the bureaucratic-Russificatory sieve. This category of adminis- 
trators filled all positions in the ecclesiastical administration with their 
adherents — people of the same ideology of ecclesiastical Russification — largely 
their relatives from Muscovy. During two centuries, especially over the past 
seventy-five years, there emerged in the cities of Ukraine a ruling class of 
Russian ecclesiastical bureaucrats who assumed exclusive influence over all 
aspects of church life . 3 

Russified theological schools and monasteries in Ukraine zealously guarded 
against the infiltration of “Ukrainophile” influences and produced a clergy that 
was largely alien to Ukrainian national and social aspirations. This state of 
affairs reflected, too, the degree of submergence of national identity in the 
Ukrainian masses and the weakness of the national movement which, arrested 
by legal and administrative restrictions, 4 was largely restricted to the small 
stratum of Ukrainian intelligentsia until the early 1900s. As Mykola Kova- 
levsky points out, 

One could find in Volhynia or Podillia priestly families which, while not using 
the Russian language at home and retaining certain overt characteristics of their 
Ukrainian nationality, politically stood completely and without reservation on the 


Bohdan R. Bociurkiw 

platform of Russian unity and Muscovite autocracy. [Nationally] conscious 
individuals among our Orthodox clergy were simply lost in the sea of Muscovite 
reaction (chornosotenstvo) that predominated among our Orthodox parish priests 
(batiushky). Church organization, too, was Russified to an absurd degree in our 
country, making no concessions to Ukrainian rites and popular customs, even 
where such concessions could have been made without undermining ecclesiastical 
unity with Moscow. 5 

After the collapse of the tsarist regime in March 1917, the Ukrainian church 
movement emerged as a reaction against this state of affairs in the Orthodox 
Church. Its principal objectives were formulated at the congresses of the clergy 
and laymen that met in all Ukrainian dioceses during the spring of 1917. The 
most elaborate statement of Ukrainian demands was given by Archpriest Feofil 
Buldovsky 6 at the May congress of the Poltava diocese: 

1. In a free, territorially autonomous Ukraine, there should be a free, auto- 
cephalous church independent of the state in its internal order... 

3. The Autocephalous Ukrainian Church shall have a conciliar constitution which 
should permeate the entire organization of the church. 

4. Church services in the Ukrainian Church shall be celebrated in Ukrainian... 7 

Similar resolutions were adopted at other, if not all, diocesan congresses, in- 
cluding that of the Kiev diocese (chaired by Archpriest Vasyl Lypkivsky), 8 
where the Ukrainian liberal majority called also for the convocation of an all- 
Ukrainian congress of clergy and laymen. 9 

An opportunity for united action presented itself to the Ukrainian church 
movement when an All-Russian Congress of Clergy and Laymen met in 
Moscow in June. Sixty-six Ukrainian delegates persuaded the congress to give 
its overwhelming support to the proposition that “should Ukraine become an 
independent state, the Ukrainian church, too, should be autocephalous; should 
there be an autonomous Ukraine, the church should also be autonomous.” The 
Moscow gathering approved also, in principle, the use of national languages in 
the church and offered its support to the proposed sobor of the Ukrainian 
dioceses. 10 However, when the Kiev diocesan council undertook to elect a 
commission for the convocation of a Ukrainian Sobor, it met stiff opposition 
from the local episcopate and, in July, the Petrograd Synod flatly rejected all 
Ukrainian demands: 

The Synod refuses to consider the question of establishing a separate Ukrainian 
church; it is not intended to raise this question at the All-Russian Local Sobor, 
since there was never an autocephalous church in Ukraine; the Kiev Metropolitan 
has been subordinated to the Patriarch of Constantinople and, since the end of the 
seventeenth century, to the Moscow Patriarch and, by succession, to the Synod. 1 1 

Ukrainization and Autocephaly 


Having failed to receive blessings from the episcopate, the Kiev commission 
nevertheless proceeded with the convocation of a Ukrainian Church Congress 
to be held in Kiev in mid-August 1918, 12 but at the last moment this gathering 
was prohibited by the new Ober-Procurator of the Holy Synod, A. V. 
Kartashev. 13 Soon afterward, the Kiev Metropolitan Vladimir (Bogoiavlensky) 
counterattacked with a pastoral letter condemning liberal tendencies in the 
church and challenging the bona fides of the Ukrainian movement: 

Combined with the general misfortune visiting the Russian land is our local 
concern about the significantly increasing spiritual unrest. I am speaking of the 
mood which is revealing itself in Southern Russia, and which endangers the peace 
and unity of the church. It is dreadful for us to hear them speak of the separation 
of the South Russian Church from the One Orthodox Russian Church. Have they, 
after such a long life in common, any reasonable grounds for these endeavours?... 
None whatsoever. I testify, on the basis of my personal experience, that in all 
dioceses and metropolies in which the Lord has honoured me to serve, 
everywhere the teachings and customs of Orthodoxy are preserved pure and un- 
changed, everywhere there is unity in church doctrine, liturgy and rituals. Who 
strives toward separation? Who benefits by it? Naturally it brings joy only to 
domestic and foreign enemies. The love of one’s own fatherland must not 
overshadow and overcome our love for all Russia and the One Orthodox Russian 
Church 14 

The Metropolitan’s message failed to answer the grievances and demands of 
the Ukrainian movement, which were addressed not to the doctrinal but to the 
national and political orientation of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. 
Vladimir’s phraseology and reasoning reflected well the extent of the 
episcopate’s alienation from the national and cultural aspirations of their 
Ukrainian flock, in fact their failure to recognize a distinct Ukrainian national 
identity, 15 let alone appreciate the potential strength and viability of the 
Ukrainian church movement. Novel and impatient of the canonical and juris- 
dictional obstacles raised by its opponents, this movement appeared to the 
Russian episcopate as an artificial, politically inspired, “unchurchly” fringe 
group that was alien to the “South Russian” believers and destined to pass away 
with the return of peace and order to Holy Russia. 

The repeated failures of the Ukrainian movement to secure by canonical 
means any of its objectives and the growing pressure applied by the bishops on 
the Ukrainian clergymen caused some defections from the movement’s ranks. 
No less discouraging was the refusal of the socialist-dominated Central Rada to 
intervene on behalf of the Ukrainian church movement, a refusal that was 
rationalized in terms of a yet-to-be-realized separation of church from state. 16 
The combined effect of these frustrations was a marked radicalization of the 
movement’s mood and its growing conviction that the only alternative left to 
the advocates of ecclesiastical Ukrainization, democratization and independence 
was to break away from the Russian Church by “revolutionary means.” 17 In 


Bohdan R. Bociurkiw 

early November, the autocephalist cause received a sympathetic response from 
the Third Ukrainian Military Congress in Kiev, which voted, on 9 November, 

In a free, democratic Ukrainian Republic there must be a free autocephalous 

Orthodox Church independent of the state in its internal order, with a conciliar 

constitution... In Ukraine, the liturgy should be celebrated in the Ukrainian 

language ! 8 

The quickened pace of developments in Russia and Ukraine appeared now 
to improve the autocephalist prospects. On the night of 6/7 November, Lenin’s 
Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd and, on 20 November, the Central Rada 
issued its Third Universal proclaiming the Ukrainian People’s Republic, which 
was soon given de facto recognition by the representatives of France and Great 
Britain. Meanwhile, having defeated the liberal faction at the Local Sobor of 
the Russian Church in Moscow, its conservative majority voted, on 10 
November, to re-establish the Moscow Patriarchate, a decision that was 
perceived by the Ukrainian circles as a victory for the reactionary, centralist 
forces within the Russian Church. 

In response to these developments, a joint meeting of three principal 
organizations espousing the causes of the Ukrainization and independence of 
the Ukrainian church 19 constituted, on 6 December, a Provisional All-Ukrainian 
Orthodox Church Council ( Tserkovna Rada) headed by an army chaplain, 
Oleksandr Marychiv, with the retired Archbishop Oleksii (Dorodnytsyn) as its 
honorary chairman. 20 Pointing to the “separation of the Ukrainian State from 
the Russian State” and to the election of Patriarch Tikhon, “who might also 
extend his power to the Ukrainian Church,” the Tserkovna Rada took the 
revolutionary step of proclaiming itself a provisional administration of the 
Orthodox Church in Ukraine until the convocation of an All-Ukrainian Sobor, 
to which it would surrender its powers. In an intensely nationalistic pro- 
clamation, the Rada called for the Sobor to meet in Kiev on 10 January, and de- 
termined the mode of representation at the projected Sobor with the proviso 
that its membership should be restricted to “Ukrainians by birth and invariably 
sympathetic to the Ukrainian cause.” 21 Although local Russian circles con- 
demned its initiative, the Rada dispatched a delegation to Patriarch Tikhon to 
plead for a compromise that would assure a canonical solution of the conflict. 22 
The subsequent negotiations, in Moscow and Kiev, with Metropolitan Platon 
and Archbishop Evlogii as representatives of the Patriarch and the All-Russian 
Sobor, started to bear fruit only after the Ukrainian government belatedly 
intervened in the ecclesiastical dispute by setting up a Commissariat for 
Religious Affairs and granting official recognition to the Tserkovna Rada. 23 
After a compromise formula was accepted by both sides, providing inter alia 
for the episcopate’s veto over all decisions of the forthcoming Sobor, the latter 
now received “blessings” from the Patriarch and the Moscow Sobor. 24 

Ukrainization and Autocephaly 


As the First All-Ukrainian Church Sobor convened in Kiev on 20 January, 
its prospects were effectively doomed by the invasion of Ukraine by Soviet 
Russian forces, the setting up of a puppet Bolshevik Ukrainian Government in 
Kharkiv, and the shrinking of the territory under the Central Rada’s control. In 
anticipation of an imminent collapse of the Ukrainian Republic, the episcopate 
and their centralist and autonomist followers among the delegates now adopted 
delaying tactics, joining in lengthy procedural and organizational confron- 
tations; by the time Muravev’s troops threatened Kiev, forcing the adjournment 
of the Sobor until late May, not a single substantive question on its agenda had 
been resolved. Hectic attempts of the Ukrainian delegates to secure a vote on 
the crucial question of autocephaly at the last session of the Sobor were 
frustrated by the now more numerous supporters of the Moscow Patriarchate. 25 

Russian- Ukrainian Polarization under the Hetman 

The Ukrainian-Russian confrontation within the church entered a new phase 
in spring 1918, with the German dispersal of the Central Rada and the 
installation of the conservative Hetman regime, which lacked broad support 
among the Ukrainian intelligentsia and incurred increasing hostility among the 
peasantry and workers. The necessities of political survival made the Skoro- 
padsky regime seek a compromise with Russian interests in Ukraine, flooded at 
that time by a mass of politically vocal refugees from Soviet Russia. Taking 
advantage of the strong Russian influence in the new government and its 
vacillating ecclesiastical policy, the opponents of the church’s Ukrainization 
and autocephaly were now able to turn the balance of forces in their favour. 

This was well illustrated by the proceedings of the May 1918 Sobor of the 
Kiev Diocese; not only did this gathering elect a staunch opponent of the 
Ukrainian movement, Antonii Khrapovitsky, as Metropolitan of Kiev, but it 
also resolved against autocephaly for the church in Ukraine, condemned the use 
of Ukrainian in church services, and called for the removal of the Tserkovna 
Rada members from among the First All-Ukrainian Sobor delegates before the 
resumption of the Sobor. 26 

By the time the Sobor reconvened in June, the supporters of autocephaly and 
their liberal allies found themselves short of a majority among the delegates, 
without a single spokesman among the bishops, and with little effective support 
from the Hetman government. 27 The chief task before the summer session of 
the Sobor was the adoption of a constitution for the Ukrainian Church. Despite 
its endorsement by the government, a compromise draft constitution introduced 
by the autocephalist and liberal delegates, which provided for broad autonomy 
of the Ukrainian Church while preserving its canonical subordination to the 
All-Russian Sobor, 28 was defeated by the conservative majority. Professor 


Bohdan R. Bociurkiw 

Pokrovsky, one of the liberal co-authors of the draft, later observed that 

the last opportunity was lost to devise the kind of autonomy that could yet have 
been accepted by the nationally conscious (shchirye) Ukrainians. From that 
moment on, the ecclesiastical aspirations of the Ukrainians could no longer be 
accommodated in the framework of even the broadest autonomy, but deviated 
sharply toward autocephaly. 29 

Before turning to an alternative draft endorsed by the episcopate, the pro- 
Russian majority voted to expel 45 members of the Rada from the Sobor, 
which in turn provoked the liberal opposition into a walkout in protest against 
this violation of the compromise representation formula accepted in December 
1917 by the Patriarch, the bishops, and the Rada. 30 Soon afterwards, on 9 July, 
the Sobor adopted “The Statute of the Provisional Supreme Administration of 
the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.” The “Statute” offered a rather limited 
autonomy to the Church, to be governed henceforth by a triennial Ukrainian 
Church Sobor and, between Sobors, by a Holy Sobor of Bishops and a Supreme 
Church Council — both to be chaired by the Metropolitan of Kiev and Halych. 
Although it provided for the election of bishops at diocesan sobors and of the 
Kiev Metropolitan at an All-Ukrainian Sobor, the Statute left the Patriarch of 
Moscow and the All-Russian Sobor with wide powers over the Church in 
Ukraine, including the Patriarch’s authority to “confirm and bless” the Metro- 
politan and all diocesan bishops, to receive complaints against the Kiev 
Metropolitan, to exercise appellate jurisdiction over all diocesan bishops, and to 
ratify the Statute itself. 31 

In his letter of 26 September to Metropolitan Khrapovitsky, Patriarch Tikhon 
(speaking on behalf of the All-Russian Church Sobor as well) introduced a 
number of important revisions which further narrowed the modest autonomy of 
the church in Ukraine: 

1 . The Orthodox dioceses in Ukraine, while remaining an inseparable part of the 
One Russian Orthodox Church, shall form an ecclesiastical province of the 
former, enjoying special autonomous privileges. 

2. Autonomy of the Ukrainian Church shall extend over local church matters — 
administrative, educational, missionary, charitable, monastic, economic, judicial 
in subordinate instances, and shall not include matters of general church 

3. Decisions of the All-Russian Church Sobors, as well as decisions and 
directives of the Holy Patriarch, shall have obligatory force for the whole 
Ukrainian Church. 

4. The bishops and representatives of clergy and laymen of the Ukrainian 
dioceses shall participate in the All-Russian Church Sobors in accordance with 
the existing Sobor rules. The Metropolitan of Kiev (ex officio ) and one of the 

Ukrainization and Autocephaly 


bishops of Ukrainian dioceses.. .shall participate in the Holy Synod. 

5. The Holy Patriarch shall have the right to send his representatives to the 
Ukrainian Church Sobor. 

6. The Holy Patriarch approves both the Metropolitan and governing bishops of 
Ukrainian dioceses. 

7. The Holy Patriarch retains with regard to the Ukrainian Church all rights provi- 
ded for in the All-Russian Sobor’ s resolution on the rights and duties of the Holy 
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. 32 

The revised “Statute” was presented for final approval at the fall session of 
the Ukrainian Sobor, which met in late October. The proposed church 
constitution was by then condemned both by the Ukrainian church movement 33 
and by the Ukrainian National Union (Soiuz), an alliance of the Ukrainian 
opposition parties. Neither their opposition nor the short-lived insistence of the 
Hetman government on Ukrainian autocephaly 34 would sway the now solidly 
pro-Russian Sobor; its mood was voiced by D. Skrynchenko, one of the closest 
collaborators of Metropolitan Antonii, who challenged the very legitimacy of 
the Ukrainian government: 

The Sobor expresses the will of the people. This will is clear. Only the 
Government fails to understand it. The ground is already prepared; now is the 
time to realize it, and, having extended [the Government’s] hand to the Sobor, to 
admit: we erred; we shall now join the people who do not desire separation from 
Russia and her church. But if the Government even now fails to comprehend the 
events, if it still intends to violate the Sobor’ s decision, who knows whether the 
Sobor would not have to resort to the means which had sometimes been used by 
the church in defence of its positions, that is, the excommunication of the 
violators? 5 

The threat of a church-state confrontation was suddenly dissipated by a 
political volte-face on the part of the Hetman regime, which reacted to 
Germany’s capitulation by proclaiming Ukraine’s federation with Russia, an act 
that signalled the beginning of an anti-Hetman uprising. The news of the 
“restoration of a united Russia and the fall of the cabinet of independentists” 
was received at the Sobor “with tremendous enthusiasm .” 36 The gathering now 
hastened to vote, without discussion, on the issue of autocephaly, which was 
rejected by a nearly unanimous vote (against three opposed) in favour of the 
Statute as amended at Moscow . 37 

The meeting resolved to announce the Sobor’ s decision to the clergy and 
believers in a special message, condemning “any attempts at arbitrary 
(. samochinnoe ) proclamation of autocephaly.” According to Golos Kieva, 

Leaving the Sobor, its members congratulated, kissed one another and crossed 
themselves. The 15th of November shall become a great historical day. The 


Bohdan R. Bociurkiw 

ecclesiastical unity with Russia will become a guarantee, no doubt, of state unity 
as well. 38 

The Sobor’ s message, published on 22 November, attested to the intensity of 
the passions guiding this body. After declaring that the “preservation of our 
filial unity with the supreme Russian archpastor and the entire Russian Church” 
was in accordance with the historical traditions and spiritual interests of the 
Ukrainian people, the seventeen bishops who signed this document threatened 
with “divine punishment” 

those unwise men [who] attempt to sow chaos and to separate the Ukrainian 
Church from unity with the Holy Patriarch, who nurture hope to enhance by such 
evil deeds the unity of the Ukrainian people and strengthen its independent 
‘sovereign’ statehood. Not by these means, however, should one strengthen the 
life of the people, not by ecclesiastical separation and hatred of the fraternal 
Russian people, but through love of and faithfulness to God’s Church... 

Therefore, do not listen, brothers, when they speak to you such unwise words: We 
are Ukrainians and we do not need an alien Moscow Patriarch but will recognize 
only our Ukrainian pastors. Do not listen to them: no benefits came to those 
peoples that have separated themselves from the great patriarchal sees and en- 
closed their life within the borders of their states; virtue and religious teaching 
grow scarce among these peoples and everything is absorbed by the struggle be- 
tween political parties. Thus it happened in the kingdoms of Romania and Serbia, 
in Greece and Montenegro, and the Bulgarian people, having illegally separated 
themselves from the Patriarch, were subjected justly to exclusion from the 
Orthodox Church and ceased to be an Orthodox people, becoming a schismatic 
people. This fate now awaits also the Georgian people, who separated themselves 
from the All-Russian Church. May the Lord preserve from such disaster for the 
sake of her present and future life our Orthodox Ukraine... May he preserve her 
from evil splitters; they speak of their love for Ukraine, but in fact many of them 
want to drag our people into the nets of the Uniate heresy, that is, completely to 
split it away from the Church of Christ and, consequently, from eternal 
salvation? 9 

As the Hetman regime was waging a losing war against the Ukrainian 
insurgents, the Sobor voted, on 12 December, to retain the Church-Slavonic 
language on historical, aesthetic, and linguistic grounds, as well as to satisfy 

...the spiritual need of every people to pray in a different tongue than the 
everyday, ordinarily spoken language; the general and unanimous wish of the 
entire Ukrainian population expressed through their representatives at diocesan 
congresses in 1918; as well as the fact that the Church-Slavonic language. ..unites 
all Slavic churches and peoples... 40 

On 18 December, after the capture of Kiev by the Directory, the Sobor of 
Ukrainian Bishops resolved: 

...should any members of the government dare to repudiate the significance of this 

Ukrainization and Autocephaly 


[Ukrainian Church] Sobor and consider its resolutions null and void, they should 
be excluded from the Church. ...any official, secular or clerical, who would dare 
to convoke an [illegal Ukrainian] Sobor or participate therein, shall by this 
decision of ours be excluded from the Church if he is a layman or defrocked if he 
is a bishop or clergyman. 

And we, Orthodox bishops, remaining faithful to the Holy Orthodox Church, 
do reaffirm the canonical and obligatory nature of the recent All-Ukrainian 
Church Sobor and by [our] oath accept the obligation both to conform to its 
decisions and submit in everything to the Holy Patriarch Tikhon, and, after his 
death, to his legitimate successor, and also to the representative of the All- 
Ukrainian Church, His Grace the Metropolitan of Kiev, Antonii, and, in the event 
of his death or voluntary departure from the see, to his successor, legally elected 
by the Sobor and approved by the Patriarch, and until the election of such, to His 
Grace Metropolitan Platon of Kherson. 41 

This important resolution signed by eighteen bishops was clearly intended to 
frustrate any attempts by the victorious Directory to implement its plans for the 
autocephaly and Ukrainization of the Church and indeed to threaten the entire 
Ukrainian autocephalous movement with wholesale excommunication from the 
Orthodox Church. This document was destined to play a fateful role in the sub- 
sequent Russo-Ukrainian struggle for control of the Ukrainian Church. 

The Directory's Proclamation of Autocephaly 

Following Skoropadsky’s abdication, an interim Ukrainian Revolutionary 
Committee arrested, on 18 December, in a general round-up of the principal 
anti-Ukrainian leaders, Archbishop Evlogii, and, on the next day, Metropolitan 
Antonii, confining them to a Uniate monastery in Western Ukraine. 42 

The reversal of political fortunes and the anxiety created by the arrest of the 
two hierarchs evidently broke the united political front of the episcopate, with 
Archbishop Ahapit (Vyshnevsky) of Katerynoslav and Bishop Dionisii (Vale- 
dinsky) of Kremianets joining in cooperation with the Directory Government 43 
Under the new regime, the Ukrainian autocephalist movement emerged 
stronger than ever before, with its members assuming important positions in the 
government. 44 The new Government made the realization of autocephaly one of 
its first priorities. On 1 January 1919, the Council of Ministers decreed “The 
Law on the Supreme Authority of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox 
Conciliar Church.” Paradoxically resembling in some respects the pre- 
revolutionary ecclesiastical legislation, the new law severed the church’s links 
with the Moscow Patriarchate. While retaining close links between the church 
and the Ukrainian state, it invested the latter with extensive powers over 
ecclesiastical affairs, designed, no doubt, to compensate for the weakness of 
Ukrainian elements in the upper echelons of the church. Accordingly, the law 
provided that: 

1. The supreme ecclesiastical authority in Ukraine — legislative, judicial, and 


Bohdan R. Bociurkiw 

administrative — shall belong to the All-Ukrainian Church Sobor; its decisions, 
whenever they relate to church-state relations or require expenditure of funds 
from the state treasury, shall be submitted for consideration and approval to the 
state’s legislative organs. 

2. A Ukrainian Church Synod shall be created to direct the affairs of the 
Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church... 

6. The Ukrainian Autocephalous Church with its Synod and clergy shall not be 
subordinated in any way to the All-Russian Patriarch. 45 

Attempting to implement the law on autocephaly, the Ukrainian Government 
entered into protracted negotiations with the episcopate to secure its co- 
operation in setting up a Ukrainian Church Synod. Despite the bishops’ 
reluctance to commit themselves without approval from Patriarch Tikhon or 
Metropolitans Antonii and Platon, a tentative agreement was reached to estab- 
lish such a body on a provisional basis, although, in order to conciliate the 
episcopate, the term “Synod” was dropped in favour of the designation “All- 
Ukrainian Supreme Sacerdotal ( Osviachena ) Council.” Two hierarchs, 
Archbishop Ahapit, as chairman of the Council, and Bishop Dionisii were se- 
lected to serve on this temporary council, together with several priests (includ- 
ing Archpriest V. Lypkivsky) and several laymen. 46 The Council, which 
managed to meet only once, ceased to exist when the Directory was forced to 
evacuate Kiev in early February 47 The Ministry’s plans for the consecration of 
the new nationally conscious bishops had to remain unfulfilled. 48 Once again, 
the changing fortunes of war frustrated Ukrainian attempts to secure control of 
the Church “from above.” 

While some members of the newly formed autocephalous Church Council 
left Kiev, following the Directory in its retreat westward, several leaders of the 
Ukrainian church movement (rejoined, in November 1919, by Archpriest Vasyl 
Lypkivsky), remained in Kiev, where under the Bolshevik regime they 
successfully continued their activities, using a new tactic of “grassroots 
Ukrainization.” 49 

The Rise of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox 

Paradoxically, it was only after the Soviet takeover of Ukraine that the 
autocephalist movement could successfully challenge Russian control of the 
Church by means of an ecclesiastical “revolution from below.” During the 
spring of 1919, having “recognized” the Soviet Separation Decree 50 (even as 
the Moscow Patriarchate continued its confrontation with Lenin’s regime), the 
Ukrainian autocephalists took advantage of the new legislation by promptly 
“registering” several “Ukrainized” parishes under a re-established All- 
Ukrainian Orthodox Church Council. 51 

Ukrainization and Autocephaly 


After the interval of Denikin’s rule, which brought about the virtually com- 
plete suppression of the autocephalist movement, 52 the autocephalists re- 
emerged. By early 1920 the Soviet Ukrainian authorities had formally recog- 
nized the “Union of Ukrainian Orthodox Parishes” as a separate ecclesiastical 
organization in Ukraine under the All-Ukrainian Council. Soon afterward the 
Russian episcopate suspended all clergy of the Ukrainized parishes, to which 
the Council responded, in May 1920, with a formal proclamation of 
autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. 

The Council’s “declaration of independence” argued that the proclamation of 
Ukrainian ecclesiastical independence from Moscow was merely the 
reaffirmation of the “virtual autocephaly,” conciliar constitution, and national 
character of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine which the latter possessed before 
its unlawful annexation by Moscow in 1686. For subsequently, the “Muscovite” 
church authorities, with the help of the tsars, 

used prohibitions, banishments, violence and terror to abolish step by step not 
only the independence and conciliar constitution of the Ukrainian Church, but 
almost everything in it that contained any characteristics of the national creativity 
peculiar to the Ukrainian people. 

The Russification, centralization and bureaucratization of the Orthodox 
Church — claimed the All-Ukrainian Council — had alienated the Ukrainian 
people, denying them the full satisfaction of their religious needs. Accordingly, 
the autocephalist movement wanted to bring the church back to the Ukrainian 
people and the people into the church. But since 1917, the “Muscovite 
ecclesiastical authorities” had been sabotaging all legitimate attempts to revive 
the Ukrainian Church and had shown themselves to be “not a good pastor, but 
an enemy of the Ukrainian people. ” 53 

The All-Ukrainian Orthodox Church Council was now left with the crucial 
problem of providing an episcopate for the Autocephalous Church; unlike the 
Georgian Orthodox Church, which was led by its own bishops when it broke 
away from the Russian Church in 1917, the former failed initially to attract a 
single bishop in Ukraine. By August 1920, however, Archbishop Parfenii 
(Levytsky) of Poltava had agreed in somewhat vague terms to assume the 
spiritual leadership of the Autocephalous Church, admittedly in the hope of 
averting a “schism” while seeking again for a canonical solution to Ukrainian 
demands. 54 In the spring of 1921, however, Parfenii was forced by the 
Patriarchate to cut his links with the autocephalists after he was elected (in 
absentia) an “All -Ukrainian Metropolitan” by the Kiev guberniia sobor in May 
1921, a gathering which also adopted a series of radical resolutions challenging 
the established canons of the Church. 55 

Having already announced the convocation of an All-Ukrainian Sobor for 
October 1921, the Council now searched in vain for an Orthodox bishop 
willing to ordain the autocephalist episcopate. On 15 August, the autocephalist 


Bohdan R. Bociurkiw 

leaders appealed, despite their previous repudiation of the authority of the 
Moscow Patriarchate, to the “Sobor of Bishops of ‘All Ukraine’,” which was 
then in session, for the recognition of an All-Ukrainian Council, the creation of 
an extraterritorial diocese for the autocephalists, and the ordination of a 
Ukrainian bishop for such an independent diocese. 56 When, predictably, the 
bishops rejected the Ukrainian request, two episcopal candidates (S. Orlyk and 
P. Pohorilko) were dispatched late in August to the Georgian Orthodox Church, 
reportedly sympathetic to the Ukrainian cause. With Russian-Georgian 
hostilities under way, they were detained by the authorities in Kharkiv. They 
made last-minute attempts to obtain consecration from Parfenii of Poltava and 
Archbishop Ahapit of Katerynoslav, but neither would consent to undertake this 
task. 57 

As the Sobor assembled on 14 October 1921 in the ancient St. Sophia 
Cathedral, the last frantic appeal for a canonically ordained bishop was 
addressed by the gathering to the newly appointed Patriarchal Exarch of 
Ukraine, Mikhail (lermakov), who came to the Sobor on 19 October, but only 
to denounce it as lacking any canonical validity. In desperation, the Sobor 
“moderates” continued negotiations with Mikhail and his two vicars throughout 
the next day, but without any success. 58 This ended any remaining illusions 
about the prospects of compromise with the Russian hierarchy. The Auto- 
cephalous Church was thus left with an agonizing dilemma: either it could rec- 
ognize its failure to acquire a canonically ordained episcopate and return to the 
ranks of the Russian Church or it could do away with those Orthodox canons 
which were invoked by the episcopate to frustrate the Ukrainian demands and 
resolve the question of the hierarchy in a revolutionary manner. 

The Sobor debate that followed focused on the crucial question: should the 
Sobor itself, in the absence of bishops, ordain the episcopate for the new church 
and, if this came to pass, would the church remain Orthodox? A positive 
answer to these questions was offered in the papers read to the Sobor by 
Archpriest Vasyl Lypkivsky and layman Volodymyr Chekhivsky — the two 
prominent figures who were to dominate the future course of the Ukrainian 
Autocephalous Church — who appealed to the long — abandoned practice of the 
early church and opposed the “natural right” of the Ukrainian believers to the 
positive canon law of the church. 59 The negative was argued by an Orthodox 
missionary, Ksenofontii Sokolovsky, who charged that the consecration of 
bishops by the Sobor delegates would amount to a “Protestant deviation and 
betrayal of the Orthodox faith”; 60 however, he offered no alternative solution to 
the autocephalist predicament. In the vote that followed, the majority— its size 
disputed in the literature — voted for the motion to ordain the first two bishops 
(Vasyl Lypkivsky and Nestor Sharaivsky) 61 by the laying on of hands of the 
clergy and laymen in attendance, but to have subsequent bishops consecrated 
by bishops alone, as had been the practice of the Orthodox Church. This 
compromise formula, forced upon the Sobor by the refusal of the canonical 

Ukrainization and Autocephaly 


bishops to ordain an autocephalist episcopate, did not satisfy the minority of 
delegates who left the Sobor, insisting on the literal observance of the Orthodox 
canons. 62 This departure from the established canons, as well as a series of 
reforms adopted by the 1921 Sobor, not only alienated some clerical supporters 
of the Ukrainian Church movement but also resulted in the subsequent isolation 
of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church from other Orthodox churches that 
refused to recognize the canonical validity of its episcopate. 


The Ukrainian church movement that emerged after the collapse of the 
tsarist regime in March 1917 combined Ukrainian nationalism with ecclesiasti- 
cal radicalism and fundamentalist religious zeal. On the one hand, it represen- 
ted a projection of renascent Ukrainian nationalism upon the ecclesiastical- 
religious scene, sharing with the political forces of the day the ultimate aim of 
the Ukrainian Revolution — the recovery of national identity, tradition and 
freedom through emancipation from Russian control. On the other hand, it 
paralleled the evolution in Ukrainian aspirations by moving from demands for 
ecclesiastical autonomy and the Ukrainization of the liturgy toward demands 
for the autocephaly of the Ukrainian church. As the same time, the movement 
expressed in the Ukrainian context the strivings of a progressive current within 
the Russian Orthodox Church toward the democratization of the Church on a 
conciliar basis, equalization in status of the parish and monastic clergy, and the 
curtailment of episcopal domination; the renovation of the Church, especially at 
its parish grass roots; and the establishment of harmony between the Church 
and the aspirations of the people. 

The core of the Ukrainian church movement consisted of people of such 
diverse backgrounds as urban parish priests (e.g., Vasyl Lypkivsky, Feofil 
Buldovsky, and Petro Tamavsky); military chaplains (Oleksander Marychiv, 
Pavlo Pohorilko, Iurii Zhevchenko); theological seminary teachers (Vasyl 
Bidnov, Petro Tabinsky, and Volodymyr Chekhivsky). Ivan Ohiienko was a 
university professor, and Mykhailo Moroz was a landowner. Oleksandr 
Lototsky’s pre-revolutionary career combined government service with literary 
work, while Serhii Shelukhyn was a jurist. Among them there were almost 
none with experience of ecclesiastical administration (one exception was Petro 
Sikorsky [future bishop Polikarp]) and, surprisingly, very few village priests. 
Some, like Lypkivsky, Chekhivsky and Bidnov, had long espoused the 
Ukrainian cause in ecclesiastical circles, and their careers had been thwarted by 
official antagonism. Others revealed their Ukrainian convictions only after the 
fall of the autocracy, and a handful, such as Nestor Sharaivsky, were converts 
from the Russian nationalist camp. Most leading members of the movement 
came from priestly families or attended theological schools. Nationalist and 


Bohdan R. Bociurkiw 

religious motives were closely intertwined in bringing them into the movement; 
with some, personal ambition and career expectations might have carried 
additional weight. 

Probably the main sources of the movement’s strength were its intense faith 
in the righteousness of its course, its optimism and energy. Its weaknesses were 
many: its lack of access to the levers of ecclesiastical power; its precarious and 
limited base among the rank-and-file clergy; and emotionalism, impatience and 
inexperience of its members in the art of ecclesiastical politics. 

Arrayed against the national church movement was the entire episcopate of 
Ukraine, supported by the administrative ecclesiastical apparatus and nearly all 
the monastic clergy, and commanding considerable material resources of the 
local church. This formidable force, including some of the outstanding rep- 
resentatives of political reaction and militant clericalism in Russia, was headed 
from 1918 by an old enemy of the Ukrainian movement. Metropolitan Antonii 
Khrapovitsky, a powerful figure with considerable gifts of leadership and 
persuasion, vast ambition and authority, who maintained a remarkable hold on 
the loyalties of the ecclesiastical elite in Ukraine. This leading stratum of the 
church was motivated by a combination of nationalism and conservatism that 
shaped their perception of the Ukrainian problem. Hence their disdain for and 
ridicule of the Ukrainian language as either a crude dialect of “Little Russian” 
peasants or a “Galician invention”; they viewed the Ukrainian people as an 
integral part of a single Russian nation, without a distinct past or future; 
perceived Ukrainian nationalism as an artificial and unpopular creation of 
misguided intellectuals and enemy-inspired troublemakers; and saw the 
Ukrainian church movement solely as a politically inspired venture of a handful 
of priestly malcontents and radicals devoid of true faith and alien to the pious 
“South Russian” masses. 63 Hence, too, their insistence on both the indivisibility 
of the Russian Orthodox Church and on its greatest possible freedom from the 
Ukrainian state’s intervention. 

It seems that this perception of the Ukrainian church movement shaped to a 
great extent the strategy of the Russian Orthodox Church leadership vis-a-vis 
the Ukrainian autocephalists. More specifically, this strategy sought, by deny- 
ing any meaningful concessions to the movement’s demands for Ukrainization, 
to stimulate the radicalization of its goals and methods so as to frighten away 
moderate supporters of the Ukrainian church movement and, perhaps, 
ultimately to push the so-called “extremists” into a schism, thereby purging the 
church of Ukrainian “trouble-makers” and “agitators.” 

On the other hand, it is clear that the absence of bishops sympathetic to the 
cause of the Ukrainian church movement seriously weakened the support it 
initially enjoyed among the Orthodox clergy and led it to place special 
emphasis on a “democratization” of the church through the participation of 
laymen in ecclesiastical administration, as well as to seek the support of the 
Ukrainian state authorities in ending the dependence of the church in Ukraine 

Ukrainization and Autocephaly 


on the Moscow Patriarchate. 

The nearly complete monopoly of power enjoyed in the Ukrainian dioceses 
by the Russian or Russian-oriented episcopate , 64 which was equally opposed to 
the Ukrainization and the democratization of the church, made the tasks of the 
Ukrainian church movement both simpler and more difficult. It tended to 
submerge the contradictions among the conservative, moderate and radical 
elements of the autocephalist movement and enabled it to draw its support from 
both the nationalist and, eventually, the socialist elements of Ukrainian society, 
as well as from the progressive stratum of the Russian clergy and church 
intelligentsia in Ukraine. The movement’s cause thus reflected the blending of 
national and social aspirations that typified the early stage of the Ukrainian 

Yet, at the same time, the canonical framework and hierarchical structure of 
the Orthodox Church supplied the Russian episcopate, as the exclusive 
repository of apostolic succession and canonical authority, with formidable 
weapons against the opponents of the status quo. Not only could the bishops 
resort at will to ecclesiastical sanctions against the “anti-canonical” clergy and 
believers; on their side they also had the forces of inertia and habit, the 
conservative spirit of the church, and last but not least the vigorous support of 
the powerful nationalist and reactionary Russian elements strategically 
entrenched in the Ukrainian cities, both within the church and outside it, in the 
bureaucratic and military strata, and among the middle class. Believers or not, 
these elements of the hitherto dominant Russian minority in Ukraine shared the 
episcopate’s view that the retention of the church’s subordination to Moscow, 
its Russian orientation and leadership were of prime importance in preparing 
for the restoration of “one and indivisible Russia.” With the break-up of the 
imperial power structure and the dispersal or suppression of the political 
organizations of the Russian Right in Ukraine, the church remained the 
principal institutional link with the past around which these forces could rally 
and combat, from the church’s privileged sanctuary, the forces of Ukrainian 
“separatism” and radicalism. 

While the majority of some eight thousand “white” parish priests in Ukraine 
were Ukrainian by origin, the nationally conscious clergy among them were a 
distinct minority and, as a rule, were deprived of positions of ecclesiastical 
authority. On the whole, the rank-and-file clergy tended to resent the heavy 
hand of the monastic bishops, and here the appeals of both the church liberals 
and autocephalists for improvement in the status of the parish clergy could not 
but strike many sympathetic chords. As long as they could be effectively 
protected either by the state or by an alternative de facto ecclesiastical authority 
from episcopal sanctions or rejection by their parishioners, many “white” 
clergymen were willing to challenge their bishops by openly supporting 
ecclesiastical reformers. This was amply demonstrated by the early successes of 
spokesmen for progressive church reforms, including Ukrainization, when they 


Bohdan R. Bociurkiw 

enjoyed the direct support of the progressive Ober-Procurator V.N. Lvov and 
the local civil authorities. The subsequent loss of this relative immunity to their 
superiors’ reprisals combined with the realization of dangers to their individual 
welfare inherent in laymen’s control of church affairs to cause a large-scale 
defection of the parish clergy from the ranks of the liberal and national church 

The Ukrainian Revolution provided the autocephalist movement with the 
historically tested, if not necessarily canonical, alternative of relying on state 
legislation and administrative measures to establish harmony between the 
church and the Ukrainian national interest. Unfortunately for the movement, the 
Central Rada government, which probably stood the best chance of enforcing 
the Ukrainization of the church, intervened belatedly and only half-heartedly in 
support of this cause. The Hetman regime, though taking a positive attitude 
toward ecclesiastical affairs and professing sympathy for the Ukrainization of 
the church, was too dependent on the acquiescence of the conservative Russian 
strata to break by state power the open defiance of the Ukrainian cause by the 
Russian episcopate. Eventually, in a futile attempt to salvage his regime, 
Skoropadsky sacrificed the cause of the emancipation of the Ukrainian Church 
along with that of Ukrainian independence. The Directory acted promptly and 
forcefully to implement by law the objectives of the Ukrainian autocephalist 
movement, but this regime’s life-span was simply too short to implement its 
decree on autocephaly effectively. Of several causes that prevented the 
autocephalists from breaking the opposition of the ecclesiastical authorities, the 
instability of the Ukrainian national governments was the most obvious one. 

As the Ukrainian-Russian struggle for control of the church increased in 
bitterness, the chances for a compromise solution espoused by Russian church 
liberals — broad autonomy of the Ukrainian Church under the limited authority 
of Moscow, coupled with the gradual Ukrainization of the Church — rapidly 
decreased with the polarization and growing rigidity in the attitudes of the 
contending camps. The two major documents of this period, the “autonomous” 
Statute as finally adopted in November 1918 by the All-Ukrainian Church 
Sobor and the January 1919 decree of the Directory on autocephaly, illustrated 
the irreconcilability of the positions taken on the one hand by the Moscow 
Patriarchate and its spokesmen in Ukraine and, on the other hand, by the 
Ukrainian autocephalists and their governmental supporters. Neither of these 
two documents could be said to have finally settled the controversy; they were 
rather declarations of the mutually exclusive attitudes of the respective 
contending parties. The Ukrainian side, with some support from the Russian 
church liberals, had persistently denied the validity of the 1918 Statute on such 
grounds as the arbitrary composition and procedures of the second and third 
sessions of the All-Ukrainian Sobor and the failure of this document to secure 
the required approval of the Ukrainian state. The supporters of the Moscow 
Patriarchate, for their part, rejected the Directory’s law on autocephaly as a 

Ukrainization and Autocephaly 


unilateral act of the Ukrainian government which had never been approved by 
the canonical leadership of the church. While the Bolshevik victory prevented 
the implementation of the 1919 decree on autocephaly, the former 
document — the 1918 Polozhenie as amended by the Patriarch — was of some 
practical significance in guiding the internal affairs of the Russian Orthodox 
Church in Ukraine until its nearly complete destruction by the late 1930s; later, 
in 1941-3, the nominal autonomy provided in this document was claimed and 
expanded in practice by the pro-Russian wing of the church in German- 
occupied Ukraine. 

As the hopes for the survival of Ukrainian statehood faded away, the 
Ukrainian autocephalist movement came to face with a momentous decision. 
Having been frustrated in its attempts to de-Russify the church from above, it 
had either to admit defeat and disband, perhaps to work slowly toward these 
aims within the church, or it had to resort to a church revolution, sever its ca- 
nonical links with the Russian Church and establish a separate church 
organization that would undertake Ukrainization from the grass roots by 
winning over the Ukrainian believers and progressively depriving the Russian 
Church of its parishes in Ukraine. The passionate faith of the Ukrainian 
autocephalists in the righteousness of their cause made most of them choose the 
second alternative. 


Looking at Ukrainian-Russian relations within the Orthodox Church from 
the perspective of our time, it should be noted that the shared experiences of 
religious persecution in the Soviet Union and, in pre-1939 Poland, Warsaw’s 
Polonization policies vis-a-vis the Orthodox Church, have had the effect of both 
moderating the ecclesiastical radicalism of the Ukrainian autocephalists and 
breaking down the once united opposition of the Russian episcopate to an ef- 
fective Ukrainization and autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. It is 
not without irony that the resurgence of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church in 
German-occupied Ukraine would have not been possible without the decisive 
support it received from the two senior Russian hierarchs of inter-war Poland, 
Metropolitan Dionisii (Valedinsky) of Warsaw and Archbishop Aleksandr 
(Inozemtsev) of Pinsk. 65 

It is also significant that the revived Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox 
Church has broken with its predecessor’s “revolutionary” approach to Orthodox 
canons and that it followed them in consecrating its episcopate, although it 
admitted, without reordaining, some surviving priests of the “old” Ukrainian 
Autocephalous Church — an act which has earned it lasting condemnation by its 
Russian critics. 66 In fact, its only hierarchical link with the inter-war church in 
Soviet Ukraine was supplied by Metropolitan Feofil Buldovsky of Kharkiv, one 
of the early pioneers of ecclesiastical Ukrainization in 1917 who had left the 
ranks of the Patriarchal episcopate in 1925 to establish, together with four other 


Bohdan R. Bociurkiw 

canonically ordained bishops, a “canonical alternative” to the Ukrainian 
Autocephalous Church (in the form of the so-called “Conciliar-Episcopal 
Church”). 67 

Beginning in the early 1940s, the religious policy initiated by Stalin 
accorded the Russian Orthodox Church the status of the relatively most 
favoured, most “patriotic” religious organization in the USSR. Once again rec- 
ognized as an integrating, anti-separatist force, the Moscow Patriarchate joined 
the regime in combating Ukrainian nationalism in religious and political fields, 
beginning with a series of wartime appeals and measures against the Ukrainian 
Orthodox Autocephalous Church (but not against its pro-Russian rival in 
occupied Ukraine, the Autonomous Church). With the return of the Soviet 
authorities, the sole remaining autocephalist bishop (Metropolitan Buldovsky) 
was removed from office, while the autocephalist parishes were instantly 
annexed to the Russian church. Simultaneously, the Ukrainian language 
disappeared from liturgical use, even in those areas of Volhynia where it had 
been entrenched for a generation. The role played by the Moscow Patriarchate 
in the Soviet suppression of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Galicia 
and Transcarpathia, in the persecution of its bishops and clergy, and in the 
annexation of its parishes and flock to the Russian Orthodox Church could not 
but deepen Ukrainian-Russian differences in the ecclesiastical field. 68 Whether 
by choice or by compulsion, the Russian Church has assumed a role not unlike 
the one it performed in pre-1917 Russia — that of guardian of imperial unity 
against the “unchurchly” designs of Ukrainian nationalism. 

One should not, however, assume that the Soviet concern about the unity of 
the Russian Church is entirely patriotic or unselfish: from the Kremlin’s point 
of view, it is far easier to control, manipulate and progressively strangle a 
centralized church organization sufficiently alienated from the national, cultural 
and social aspirations of the believers. Even continuing Ukrainian-Russian 
confrontation in the ecclesiastical field may not be completely adverse to the 
Kremlin’s interests, as long as it serves to bring the Russian church closer to 
the regime and helps prevent any effective co-operation between the Ukrainian 
and Russian faithful who oppose the existing regime. 


1. E.g., Constantinople’s refusal to recognize (until 1589) the autocephaly of the 
Russian Church proclaimed in 1448, and, in more recent times, that of the 
Bulgarian Church (1870); Moscow’s opposition to the autocephaly of the 
Orthodox churches of Georgia (1917) until 1943 and Poland (1924); and the 
Serbian Patriarchate’s refusal to recognize Macedonian autocephaly (1967). 

2. On the annexation of the Kiev Metropoly to the Moscow Patriarchate in 1685-6, 

Ukrainization and Autocephaly 


see Oleksandr Lototsky, Avtokefaliia. Vol. II: Narys istorii avtokefalnykh tserkov 
(Warsaw, 1938), 368-80; Ivan Ohiienko, Pryiednannia tserkvy ukrainskoi do 
moskovskoi v 1686 r., 2d ed. (Tarnow, 1922); and Ivan Vlasovsky, Narys istorii 
Ukrainskoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvy (New York and Bound Brook, N.J., 1957), II, 
Pt. 1, 330-43. 

3. Lototsky, op. cit., Vol. I: Zasady avtokefalii (Warsaw, 1935), 459. 

4. Including the ban on publishing in the Ukrainanian language that lasted from 
1876 to 1905. 

5. Mykola Kovalevsky, Pry dzherelakh borotby (Innsbruck, 1960), 557-8. 

6. 1865-1943(7). Ordained in 1923 as an auxiliary bishop for Lubni and Myrhorod, 
Buldovsky seceded along with two other bishops from the Russian Orthodox 
Church in 1925 in an attempt to form a “canonical” Ukrainian autocephalous 
Orthodox church. See this writer’s “Ukrainization Movements within the Russian 
Orthodox Church, and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church,” Harvard 
Ukrainian Studies III/IV (1979-80): 102-10. 

7. [Feofil Buldovsky], Pro ukrainizatsiiu tserkvy. Doklad prochytanyi na 
Poltavskomu Eparkhiialnomu Z’izdi dukhovenstva i myrian, 3-8 travnia 1917 
roku, 3rd ed. (Lubni, 1918), 8. 

8. 1864-1938(7). Having presided over a diocesan congress of clergy and laymen in 
Kiev following the 1905 Revolution, Lypkivsky re-emerged in this capacity in the 
spring of 1917 and was elected chairman of the Kiev diocesan council. The 
principal clerical leader of the Ukrainian church movement from 1917, Lypkivsky 
was consecrated in a moving if not canonical manner by clergy and lay members 
of the 1921 Autocephalist Sobor as Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine. He 
presided over the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church until his removal from the 
leadership of the U.A.O.C. in 1927, which was demanded by the Soviet 
authorities in return for the restoration of the church’s legal status. For his short 
autobiography written in December 1933, see Vasyl Lypkivsky, Istoriia 
Ukrainskoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvy. Part 7: Vidrodzhennia Ukrainskoi Tserkvy 
(Winnipeg, 1961), lxxvi-lxxvii [cited hereafter as Istoriia]. 

9. Russkiia vedomosti, 18 April/1 May 1917; Iu. Samoilovich, Tserkov ukrainskogo 
sotsial-fashizma (Moscow, 1932), 28; Lypkivsky, Istoriia, 7. 

10. Odesskii listok, 23 June/6 July 1917; Odesskiia novosti, 23 June/6 July 1917; see 
also a memorandum of the Ukrainian Renovationist Synod, Dokladnaia zapiska 
Sv. Sinoda Ukrainskoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi Ego Sviateishestvu Sv. Vselenskomu 
Patriarkhu...ob istorii i kanonicheskikh osnovaniiakh avtokefalii Ukrainskoi 
Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi (Kharkiv, 1926), 1. 

11. Rech, 13/26 July 1917. 

12. Bezvirnyk (Kharkiv), no. 1 (1931): 45. 

13. Russkiia vedomosti, 2/15 August 1917. 

14. Kievskiia Eparkhiialnyia Vedomosti LVI, no. 32-33 (20-27 August/12-19 
September 1917): 261-2; cited in Friedrich Heyer, Die Orthodoxe Kirche in der 
Ukraine von 1917 bis 1945 (Cologne and Braunsfeld, 1953), 37. 

15. One of the participants in the Ukrainian church movement in Kiev, the priest 


Bohdan R. Bociurkiw 

P. Korsunovsky, relates that, when accused by a Ukrainian Rada delegation in 
December 1917 of being alien to Ukrainian aspirations. Metropolitan Vladimir 
(Bogoiavlensky) of Kiev “simply could not understand what they were talking 
about. Astonished, he asked: What kind of Ukraine? What kind of Ukrainian 
people? Is not the Little Russian people the same as the Russian people?” 
(“Tserkovnyi rukh na Ukraini v pershi roky revoliutsii,” Dnipro [Trenton, N.J.], 
21 November 1925). 

16. O. Lototsky, “Znevazhena sprava,” Tryzub (Paris) III, no. 12 (20 March 1927): 7. 

17. See S. Hai, “Polozhennia dukhovenstva,” Nova Rada, 10/23 September 1917. 

18. P. Khrystiuk, Zamitky i materiialy do istorii ukrainskoi revoliutsii 1917-1920 rr. 
(Vienna, 1921), 1: 194. 

19. Convened by the “Organizational Committee for the Convocation of the 
Ukrainian Church Sobor” (constituted by the Third Ukrainian Military Congress a 
short time previously), the meeting was also attended by leaders of the Bratstvo 
Voskresennia (Brotherhood of the Resurrection), the new organizational form as- 
sumed by the “mainsteam” Ukrainian church movement, as well as by some 
members of the old Church Congress Committee elected by the Kiev diocesan 
congress in the spring of 1917. See Samoilovich, 36-8; Heyer, 40-41; and 
Korsunovsky, 15 August 1925. 

20. A Ukrainian by origin, Dorodnytsyn was dismissed by the Synod in March 1917 
on a charge of collaboration with Rasputin, and was subsequently living in 
retirement in Kiev. For Dorodnytsyn’ s denial of the charge, see Novoe vremia, 25 
March/7 April 1917. Dorodnytsyn explained his motives for joining the Ukrainian 
movement in a letter to Kievlianin (6/9 December 1917) in response to this 
paper’s attacks on his “Ukrainophilism.” 

21. Cited in full in Dmytro Doroshenko, Istoriia Ukrainy 1917-1923 rr. (Uzhhorod, 
1930), 1: 408-09; cf. Vserossiiskii Tserkovno-Obshchestvennyi Vestnik (Petro- 
grad), 1 December 1917, 3; and Heyer, 40-41. 

22. Kievlianin, 25 November/8 December 1917; Odesskii listok, 12 December 1917; 
Korsunovsky, 29 August 1925; Vlasovsky, IV, Pt. 1, 17. While the Ukrainian 
delegation reported upon its return to Kiev that Patriarch Tikhon had given his 
blessings to the All-Ukrainian Sobor, according to Metropolitan Antonii 
(Khrapovitsky) of Kharkiv, Tikhon told the delegates that “I shall never give my 
consent to any autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church, but autonomy, even the 
widest, is in your hands” (Bishop Nikon [Rklitsky], Zhizneopisanie 
Blazhenneishago Antoniia, Mitropolita Kievskago i Galitskago [New York, 1958], 
IV, 234). On the hostile reaction of the Kiev bishops and clergy to the proposed 
Ukrainian Sobor, see Peter T. Sheshko, “The Russian Orthodox Church Sobor of 
Moscow and the Orthodox Church in the Ukraine (1917-1918),” Pt. 2, Analecta 
Ordinis S. Basilii Magni (Rome), sect. 2, X (XVI), no. 1-4 (1979), 239-48; and 
Kievskiia Eparkhialnyia Vedomosti, nos. 44-5 (29 October-5 December/1 1 
November- 18 December 1917); on the opposition at the All-Russian Sobor in 
Moscow against the Sobor and its Rada initiators, see Sheshko, 251-324; Russkiia 
Vedomosti, no. 258 (25 November/8 December 1917); Korsunovsky, 21 and 28 
November 1925. 

Ukrainization and Autocephaly 


23. Kievskiia Eparkhiialnyia Vedomosti LVI, nos. 48-49-50 (Dec. 
3-10-17/16-23-30, 1917): 365-6. 

24. See “Sozyv Vseukrainskago tserkovnago soboru,” Kievlianin, 22 December 
1917/4 January 1918, signed by V. Lypkivsky and N. I. Luzgin; and Russkiia 
Vedomosti, no. 259 (28 November/8 December 1917). Cf. Samoilovich, 37^41; 
and A. I. Pokrovsky, “Avtokefaliia Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi na Ukraine,” Ukrainskyi 
Pravoslavnyi Blahovisnyk (Kharkiv), no. 18 (15 September 1925), 4. 

25. D. Skrynchenko, “Vseukrainskii Tserkovnyi Sobor,” Kievskii Pravoslavnyi 
Vestnik, no. 1 (1/14 October 1918), 88-94; Korsunovsky, 19 December 1925; 
Lypkivsky, 10; Pokrovsky, 4; Samoilovich, 44-5. 

26. Kievskii Eparkhiialnyi Vestnik, no. 1 (2-15 May 1918), 1-4; and no. 23 (17-30 
June 1918), 91; Golos Kieva, 29 May 1918; Nova Rada, 16 June 1918; 
Samoilovich, 54-6; and Doroshenko, 2: 323-5. According to the then Minister of 
Confessions in the Hetman cabinet, V. V. Zenkovsky (Zinkivsky), who favoured 
autonomy but not autocephaly of the Ukrainian church, the Kiev diocesan sobor 
was designed to bypass the Ukrainian Sobor and to place Metropolitan Antonii at 
the helm of the Ukrainian church by a fait accompli masterminded by the 
“Ukrainophobe” Bishop Nikodim (senior Kiev vicar who temporarily replaced 
Metropolitan Vladimir after the latter was murdered by Bolshevik soldiers in 
February 1918) (“Vospominaniia [1900-1920]: Piat mesiatsev u vlasti [Moe 
uchastie v ukrainskoi zhizni],” unpublished 1952 manuscript in Columbia 
University’s Archive of Russian and East European History and Culture, 22-5, 
33-9). At Zenkovsky’ s insistence, the Hetman Government refused to recognize 
Antonii as the Kiev Metropolitan until he was subsequently confirmed in this 
capacity by the Second Session of the All-Ukrainian Sobor. Meanwhile, a 
meeting of six bishops of the Ukrainian dioceses who were participating in the 
Moscow Sobor was held on 2 April 1918 under the chairmanship of Metropolitan 
Antonii Khrapovitsky. At this meeting, according to Pokrovsky (op. cit., 4), “the 
decision was reached not to make haste, if possible, with the opening of the 
second session of the Ukrainian Sobor and to postpone it indefinitely, i.e., not to 
continue this Sobor at all.” See “Akt soveshchaniia episkopov Ukrainskikh 
eparkhii,” Kievskii eparkhialnyi vestnik, no. 1 (2-15 May 1918), 2-4. This “Act” 
clearly seeks to change unilaterally the mode of representation at the All- 
Ukrainian Sobor agreed upon in the course of negotiations between the Rada and 
the delegation of the All-Russian Sobor in December 1917. The bishops instruct 
dioceses to hold conferences of the clergy and laymen prior to the resumption of 
the Ukrainian Sobor sessions, at which such crucial questions are to be decided as 
the selection and funding of Sobor delegates (with the bishops clearly hinting at 
the reduction of the number of diocesan delegates at the expense of the likely 
supporters of autocephaly); and the desirability of “autocephaly or autonomy of 
the Church in Ukraine, Ukrainization of the liturgy, etc.” (p. 3). Urged by 
Ukrainian church circles, Zenkovsky had to apply government pressure, including 
a meeting with Hetman Skoropadsky, to persuade the episcopate to reconvene the 
All-Ukrainian Sobor (op. cit., 37-8). 

27. Archbishop Iosif [Krechetovich], Proiskhozhdenie i sushchnost samosviatstva 
lipkovtsev (Kharkiv, 1925), 6n; Lototsky, “Znevazhena sprava,” 8; Doroshenko, 


Bohdan R. Bociurkiw 

2: 324-5. See in particular P.V.L. [Lypkivsky], “Tserkovne zhyttia na Ukraini v 
1918 rotsi,” Trybuna, no. 13 (2 January 1919). 

28. Pokrovsky, 4; Doroshenko, 327-8; Lototsky, “Tserkovna sprava na Ukraini,” 
Literatumo-naukovyi visnyk XXII, no. 5 (1923): 66; Zenkovsky, 45-7. According 
to Zenkovsky, “the right-wing [Academy] professors and higher clergy [at the 
Ukrainian Sobor] did not want to solve any question of principle until the 
restoration of all Russia” (ibid., 66-7). 

29. Pokrovsky, 4. 

30. Korsunovsky, 27 February; 6, 13, 20 March; 10, 17 April; 1 May 1926; P. V. L. 
[Lypkivsky], op. cit.; Metropolitan Evlogii, Put moei zhizni (Paris, 1947), 313; 
Dokladnaia zapiska Sv. Sinoda, 2; Lypkivsky, 11-12. See also Oleksandr 
Lototsky, Ukrainski dzherela tserkovnoho prava (Warsaw, 1931), 130 (cited 
hereafter as Ukrainski dzherela). 

31. The complete text of the statute is reproduced in Doroshenko, 2: 328-30. 
Following its adoption of the statute, the Sobor elected to the Supreme Church 
Council Metropolitans Antonii of Kiev (as ex officio chairman) and Platon 
(Rozhdestvensky) of Odessa, Archbishop Evlogii (Georgievsky) of Volhynia and 
Bishop Pakhomii of Chernihiv, as well as several priests and laymen; none of 
them could be considered sympathetic to the Ukrainian autocephalist movement 
(Kievlianin, 25 August 1918). 

32. Cited in full in Doroshenko, 2, Appendix XI, p. lxii. Patriarch Tikhon turned 
down the request from the Hetman Government not to ratify Article 2 of the 
Statute defining the Patriarch’s powers over the Ukrainian Church until this 
matter had been given more consideration by the Ukrainian Sobor and the 
Government (ibid., 331-2). Professor Pokrovsky, one of the leading spokesmen of 
the liberal “moderates” at the Sobor, who opposed both “centralist” and 
“autocephalist” tendencies in favour of a “broad ecclesiastical autonomy of the 
Ukrainian church,” commented on the amended statute that “of the autonomy of 
the Ukrainian church, almost nothing has been left [in it] except for a hollow 
sound” (A. Pokrovsky, “Vseukrainskii tserkovnoi sobor,” Odesskii listok, 3 
November 1918). 

33. Samoilovich, 59-68. 

34. Toward the end of October, Hetman Skoropadsky had a new cabinet formed 
which included nominees of the Ukrainian opposition, among them Oleksander 
Lototsky as the new minister of confessions. On 12 November, Lototsky 
addressed the third session of the Ukrainian Sobor, informing the latter that the 
Government was now firmly in favour of complete independence of the Orthodox 
Church in Ukraine (for the full text of his address, see Lototsky, Ukrainski 
dzherela, 133-4. Two days later, however, Lototsky and his Ukrainian fellow 
ministers were dismissed by the Hetman in connection with his proclamation of 
federation with Russia, a step designed to save his regime in the wake of 
Germany’s capitulation. 

35. Golos Kieva, 16 November 1918. Cf. Oleksander Lototsky, “Na svitanku 
tserkovnoho vyzvolennia,” Kalendar-almanakh “Dnipro ” na perestupnyi rik 1928 
(Lviv, 1928), 106. 

Ukrainization and Autocephaly 


36. Golos Kieva, 16 November 1918. 

37. Russkii golos, 16 November 1918. 

38. Golos Kieva, 16 November 1918. 

39. Ibid., 22 November 1918. 

40. Cited in Lototsky, Ukrainski dzherela, 49n. On other Sobor resolutions, see 
Kievskaia mysl, 10 and 13 December 1918; and Mir, 12 December 1918. Before 
Skoropadsky abdicated on 14 December, the Sobor issued two appeals to the 
population to unite around the Hetman for the sake of “the salvation of all 
Russia” and to fight against the “Petliurite bands” (i.e., the forces of the Directory 
that led an uprising against Skoropadsky triggered by his proclamation of 
federation with Russia). See Vidrodzhennia, 21 November 1918; and Trybuna, 19 
December 1918. 

41. “Pravoslavie i ukrainofilstvo,” Tserkovnyia vedomosti (Ekaterinodar), no. 7, 1919, 
reproduced in the Karlovtsi Synod’s Tserkovnyia vedomosti izdavaimyia pri 
Arkhiereiskom Sinode Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi zagranitsei, no. 1-2 (1930): 
14-15. Cf. Nikon (Rklitsky), 4: 239. 

42. Trybuna, 19 December 1918. The bishops (also arrested were Bishop Nikodim 
and the Pochaiv monastery abbot, Vitalii [Maksymenko]) were charged but not 
tried for their appeals to the population to fight the “Petliurite bands.” The 
principal consideration on the part of the Ukrainian authorities may have been to 
isolate the main opponents of the Ukrainian autocephaly that was soon to be 
proclaimed by government decree. After confinement in a Basilian monastery in 
Buchach (where they were joined by Archbishop Dorodnytsyn, who came to 
plead for their release), the bishops were liberated by the advancing Poles and, 
travelling by way of Lviv (where they were guests of the Uniate Metropolitan 
Andrei Sheptytsky), they eventually joined the Denikin forces in Novorossiisk. 
By the end of the summer of 1919 Antonii and Nikodim resumed their posts in 
Kiev after its capture by the “Whites.” See Evlogii, 318-44; cf. Vlasovsky, IV, 
Pt. 1, 78-82. To fill in the hiatus in ecclesiastical authority. Metropolitan 
Platon — evidently reluctant to act as Khrapovitsky’s deputy — convened in late 
December the Sobor of Bishops, which decided to transfer ecclesiastical 
administration temporarily to the Kiev office ( kontora ) of the Bishop’s Sobor, to 
be headed by Bishop Dionizii (Valedinsky) of Kremianets (. Nash Put, 29 
December 1918). Platon himself left for Odessa to plead with the local French 
vice-consul, Hainnot, to assume “the protection of the interest of the Orthodox 
Church in Ukraine” ( Trybuna , 1 January 1919). 

43. See memoirs of Lototsky’s successor in the Ministry of Cults, Ivan Lypa, “Iak ia 
pishov v revoliutsiiu,” Kalendar-almanakh “ Dnipro ” na perestupnyi rik 1928 
(Lviv, 1927), 98. Archbishop Ahapit, assisted by V. Lypkivsky and other Kiev 
clergy, presided over a solemn service in St. Sophia Square in Kiev on 19 
December, welcoming the victorious Directory upon its official arrival in the 
capital ( Trybuna , 21 December 1918; Korsunovsky, 12 June 1926). 

44. Members of the autocephalist Brotherhood of Sts. Cyril and Methodius (formed in 
the wake of the first session of the All-Ukrainian Sobor), Volodymyr Chekhivsky 
and Serhii Shelukhin, became Premier and Minister of Justice respectively in the 


Bohdan R. Bociurkiw 

new Ukrainian Government, Ivan Lypa from Odessa became Minister of Cults, 
while Lototsky was soon to be dispatched as the Directory’s envoy to Turkey 
with the special task of securing support for Ukrainian autocephaly from the 
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. See Lototsky, “Tserkovna sprava na 
Ukraini”, 68; Iosif (Krechetovich), 9. Trybuna, 24 and 27 December 1918; and 
Oleksandr Lototsky, V Tsarhorodi (Warsaw, 1939), 94-9. 

45. Ukrainska Narodna Respublika, Vistnyk Derzhavnykh Zakoniv 1, no. 5 (18 
January 1919), reproduced in full in Lototsky, Ukrainski dzherela, 297-8; cf. 
Trybuna , 2 January 1919. 

46. Lypa, 98; cf. Samoilovich, 76. 

47. Lypa, 98; for the next eight months the Ministry of Cult in fact ceased functioning 
as the Directory retreated westward before superior Soviet forces, eventually 
establishing itself in Kamianets Podilskyi in the Podillia region. 

48. Two Ukrainian candidates for episcopal consecration were selected by Lypa. 
Bishop Dionisii was requested for arrange for the consecration of one of them, 
Archpriest Iurii Zhevchenko, as bishop-administrator of the Kiev diocese (to 
replace Antonii’s vicar, Nikodim). Convened by Dionisii, the kontora of the 
Episcopal Sobor (three bishops) turned down the government’s request on the 
grounds that only the sobor of bishops was empowered to select new bishops 
(Poslednyia novosti, 11 January 1919). 

49. Lypkivsky, 13-20. Following the liberation of Kiev by the Ukrainian army at the 
end of August 1919 and the loss of the capital to the Denikin forces (which 
remained in the hands of the “Whites” until December), Lypkivsky and some 
other Ukrainian autocephalist leaders escaped to the Directory’s temporary 
“capital,” Kamianets Podilskyi, where in October 1919, under the new Minister of 
Confessions, Ivan Ohiienko, Lypkivsky was elected chairman of the reconstructed 
Ukrainian Holy Synod; the latter’s activities were cut short by the Polish 
occupation of Kamianets in mid-November, with Lypkivsky soon returning to 
Kiev. Oleksander Dotsenko, Litopys Ukrainskoi Revoliutsii. Materiialy i 
dokumenty do istorii Ukrainskoi Revoliutsii, 1917-1922, 2, Bk. 4 (Lviv, 1923), 
117-18; V. Bidnov, Tserkovna sprava na Ukraini (Tarnow, 1921), 26-32. 

50. “The Decree of the Provisional Worker-Peasant Government of Ukraine on the 
Separation of the Church from the State and of the School from the Church” of 22 
January 1919 (published in Sobranie Uzakonenii Ukrainy, no. 3, 1919, art. 37), 
closely followed the earlier Soviet Russian decree of 5 February 1918, except for 
omitting the provision depriving churches and religious associations of the rights 
of a judicial person. This deliberate omission was later “corrected” by a resolution 
of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Ukrainian SSR of 3 August 1920 
(, Sobranie Uzakonenii Ukrainy, no. 22, 1920, art. 435). On the autocephalists’ 
rationale for “recognizing” the Separation Decree, see Lypkivsky, 13-14. 

51. The “Second” All-Ukrainian Orthodox Church Council (Rada) was organized in 
April 1919, with Mykhailo Moroz as chairman, Lypkivsky as vice-chairman, and 
Ivan Tarasenko as secretary. See ibid., 14-20; and V. Lypkivsky, Pravoslavna 
Khrystova Tserkva ukrainskoho narodu [1927] (Munich, 1951), 24-5. Initially, in 
March 1919, a group of Ukrainian clergy and laymen sought permission from 

Ukrainization and Autocephaly 


Bishop Nazarii (temporarily administering the Kiev diocese) to assign them a 
Kiev church where Gospels could be read in the Ukrainian language during the 
Lent and Easter services. After the bishop turned down this request on the 
grounds that the Ukrainian Sobor of 1918 had banned the Ukrainian language 
from church services, the group constituted itself as a “parish association” under 
the new Soviet legislation. Following the “registration” of its parish statute, the 
authorities assigned the first Ukrainian parish one of the parishless Kiev churches 
(the “military” church of St. Nicholas). Cf. Ivan Sukhopliuev, Ukrainski 
avtokefalisty (Kharkiv, 1925), 7-9. 

52. Lypkivsky, Istoriia, 20; cf. K. V. Fotiev, Popytki ukrainskoi tserkovnoi avtokefalii 
v XX veke (Munich, 1955), 27. With Metropolitan Antonii’s return to Kiev, the 
Kiev Consistory instructed the deans: “...All [church] services which were 
previously celebrated in the ‘Ukrainian’ language should be conducted in Church- 
Slavic; books in the ‘Ukrainian’ language, if there are such in churches, should 
immediately be collected and deposited into the church archive under the special 
responsibility of the church warden. All church business should be conducted 
only in the Russian state language; all vital and confessional records and other 
books that were written in the ‘Ukrainian’ language should at once be rewritten in 
Russian; you are ordered to pay special attention to this instruction” (cited in 
Dotsenko, 2, Bk. 4, 237). 

53. “Vid Vseukrainskoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkovnoi Rady do ukrainskoho pravo- 
slavnoho hromadianstva. Lyst pershyi,” Tserkva i zhyttia, no. 1 (1927): 120-23. 
This declaration was adopted at an enlarged Rada meeting on 5 May, just two 
days before the capture of Kiev by the now allied Polish and Ukrainian forces and 
the return of the government of the Ukrainian People’s Republic. As the latter 
was committed to Ukrainian autocephaly, it is likely that the proclamation was 
bound up with the expectation of decisive government action to solve the question 
of Ukrainian ecclesiastical independence and the consecration of bishops for the 
Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Few would have expected at that 
time that the Bolsheviks would be back in Kiev within a month. 

54. See Tserkva i zhyttia, no. 1 (1927): 25, 123^1; Lypkivsky, Istoriia, 27-30; and 
Ivan Shram, “Iak tvorylas Ukrainska Avtokefalna Tserkva,” Na varti (Volodymyr 
Volynskyi), nos. 7-8 (May 1925): 2-5. See also Vlasovsky, 4: 83-7. 

55. Shram, op. cit.; A. Richytsky, Problemy ukrainskoi religiinoi svidomosty 
(Volodymyr Volynskyi, 1933), 12; “Materiialy do istorii borotby za avtokefaliiu 
ukrainskoi tserkvy,” Relihiino-naukovyi visnyk (Aleksandrow Kujawski), 3, 
nos. 7-8 (February-March 1923): 47-55; Sukhopliuev, 11-15, 36-42; and 
especially Iosif (Krechetovich), 13-19. For a popular outline of the autocephalist 
ideology and programme, see a brochure by the All-Ukrainian Orthodox Church 
Rada circulated prior to the pre-Sobor Conference of the Kiev okruha (district) 
which met on 27-9 March 1921 in Kiev and was subsequently published by 
I. Ohiienko in Poland ( Pidvalyny Ukrainskoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvy [Tarnow, 

56. Iosif (Krechetovich), 24. 

57. Lypkivsky, Istoriia, 31^1. 


Bohdan R. Bociurkiw 

58. Iosif (Krechetovich), 26. 

59. Lypkivsky, Istoriia, 39^10. An extended autocephalist argument in favour of the 
legitimacy of the episcopate ordained by the priests and laymen at the 1921 Sobor 
appears in Ivan Teodorovych, Blahodatnist iierarkhii U.A.P.Ts. (Ukrainskoi 
Avtokefalnoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvy) (Regensburg, 1947), originally written in 
1922 and previously published in Philadelphia in 1941. Ironically, Archbishop 
Teodorovych, who had been assigned to head the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in 
the United States in 1924 and who had himself been ordained by Metropolitan 
Lypkivsky and Archbishop N. Sharaivsky at the 1921 Sobor, eventually became 
sufficiently doubtful of the validity of his consecration to submit to another 
episcopal ordination after World War II, this time by the canonically ordained 
Orthodox bishops. 

60. Ibid., 40; Vlasovsky, 4, Pt. 1, 117-18. According to Heyer (p. 83), Sokolovsky 
represented the position taken by the conservative “Poltava tendency.” 

61. Vlasovsky, 4, Pt. 1, 118; Lypkivsky, Istoriia , 40-42; for an eyewitness account of 
the consecration, see Archbishop Ivan Pavlovsky, “Pershyi Vseukrainskyi 
pravoslavnyi sobor,” Tserkva i zhyttia, nos. 2-3 (1927): 197-205. 

62. The secessionists were led by priests K. Sokolovsky, Serhii Pylypenko and Pavlo 
Pohorilko (Vasyl Potiienko, Vidnovlennia iierarkhii Ukrainskoi Pravoslavnoi 
Avtokefalnoi Tserkvy (Neu-Ulm, 1971), 23, 36-8; Heyer, 83; Vlasovsky, 4, Pt. 1, 

63. Metropolitan Antonii Khrapovitsky, in the words of his biographer, “was not and 
could not be a separatist, since he, like many [people] then, was hoping that 
Ukraine liberated from the Bolsheviks would serve as a basis for the salvation of 
Russia, when again a union of Great and Little Russia would take place” (Nikon 
[Rklitsky], 4: 224). Antonii’s treatment of the autocephalists at the first session of 
the Ukrainian Sobor abounded in more or less veiled accusations of “shtundism,” 
“Catholicism,” and “Uniate” tendencies (Skrynchenko, 91-3); Archbishop Evlogii 
characterized his position at the 1918 sessions of the Ukrainian Sobor as follows: 
“I was passionately for ‘the one, indivisible Russian Church,’ admitting, however, 
that some concession could be made to Ukrainians” (Evlogii, 313). Characteristic 
of the attitudes of the “centralist” Kiev clergy in late 1917 was a resolution 
adopted on 24 November by the Union of the Kiev parish councils (embracing 
some 60 clergymen and four local bishops): “(a) to protest to the utmost against 
the arbitrary, anti-canonical attempt to establish an autocephalous Ukrainian 
church; (b) to consider the establishment of such a church very dangerous for 
Orthodoxy and likely to lead it first into Union [with Rome], against which the 
South Russian population fought for centuries, and subsequently to complete 
subordination to the Vatican and the Pope; (c) to present a complaint to the Holy 
All-Russian Sobor against the masterminds of [these] troubles in order for the 
Sobor to summon them to trial and to defrock them unless they repudiate their 
designs; (d) to ask the church authorities not to allow the convening of the All- 
Ukrainian Sobor; and (e) to consider the absence from Kiev of the Kiev 
Metropolitan undesirable at such a dangerous moment, the more so since he could 
be replaced at the Sobor by one of the Kiev vicar bishops.” ( Vserossiiskii 
Tserkovno-Obshchestvennyi Vestnik, no. 156, 1 December 1917, 3). 

Ukrainization and Autocephaly 


64. In 1915, of the nine diocesan bishops in Ukraine, eight were Russians, and only 
one bishop, Ahapit (Vyshnevsky) of Katerynoslav, was of Ukrainian origin. Of 
the fifteen vicar bishops, eleven were Russians, and only two were of Ukrainian 
origin (Kievan vicars Vasylii Bohdashevsky and Dymytrii Verbytsky). Sviateishii 
Pravitelstvuiushchii Sinod, Spiski sluzhashchikh po Vedomstvu Pravoslavnago 
ispovedaniia za 1915 god (Petrograd, 1915). 

65. Joining Ukrainian church circles in opposing the continued canonical submission 
to the Moscow Patriarchate of the majority of Orthodox bishops in Volhynia 
(imposed during the Soviet occupation of 1939-41), Metropolitan Dionisii 
appointed Archbishop Polikarp (Sikorsky) of Lutsk “Provisional Administrator of 
the Orthodox Autocephalous Church in the Liberated Lands of Ukraine” on 24 
December 1941. In February 1942, Archbishop Aleksandr of Pinsk joined 
Archbishop Polikarp in ordaining two bishops for the Autocephalous Church in 
Ukraine, and subsequently participated in the sobors of Ukrainian bishops (see 
Vlasovsky, 4, Pt. 2, 199-248). 

66. Fotiev, 58. Reflecting attitudes widespread among Russian Orthodox churchmen, 
the same author characterizes lipkovshchina (i.e., the Ukrainian Autocephalous 
Church headed by Metropolitan Lypkivsky and his successors) as follows: “At its 
[lipkovshchina’ s] root are the same [as the Renovationists’] caste resentments of 
the white [married] clergy, and therein lies the secret of its relative and short-lived 
success. Nationalist ideas may have gratified representatives of the Ukrainian 
‘intelligentsia’ who had not found their place in the construction of the Great 
Empire and were suffering from [the sense] of their offended folkloric 
particularities. This chauvinist operetta has [however] remained alien to the 
people. Lipkovshchina was a parish clergy (popovskoe) movement which was 
maintained by the Petliurite administration, just as twenty years later the 
“autocephaly” of Bishop Polikarp derived its support from the German occupiers- 
dismemberers and Galician policemen appointed by them” (ibid., 20). An even 
less subtle account appears in S. Raevsky, Ukrainskaia Avtokefalnaia Tserkov 
(Jordanville, N. Y., 1948). For analogies with the current Soviet characterization 
of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, see K. Ie. Dmytruk, Pid 
shtandartamy reaktsii ifashyzmu (Kiev, 1976), 162-72, 190-224. 

67. See this writer’s “Ukrainization Movements within the Russian Orthodox 
Church,” 101-10. It is significant that Buldovsky was joined at the 1925 “Lubni 
sobor” by two other veterans of the Ukrainian church movement — former mem- 
bers of the All-Ukrainian Church Rada who seceded from the 1921 Sobor — K. 
Sokolovsky (ordained in the autumn of 1921 Bishop loannikii of Bakhmut by the 
Kievan bishops) and P. Pohorilko (ordained in 1923 as a Renovationist vicar 
bishop for Podillia). 

68. See, e.g., a 1966 petition of a persecuted Ukrainian Catholic priest, Hryhorii 
Budzynsky, to the Soviet Procurator General, reproduced in full in Ukrainskyi 
Visnyk, nos. I-II (January-May 1970) (Paris and Baltimore, 1971), 64-71. See also 
this writer’s “The Uniate Church in the Soviet Ukraine: A Case Study in Soviet 
Church Policy,” Canadian Slavonic Papers 8 (1965): 89-1 13. 


Ralph S. Clem 

Demographic Change among Russians and 
Ukrainians in the Soviet Union: Social, 
Economic and Political Implications 

Relations among ethnic groups may take any number of forms and will 
involve a wide range of interconnected factors. 1 Thus, in their historical 
encounter one might expect ethnic groups to engage along political, economic 
and linguistic lines, with the intensity of their interaction and the relative 
strength of the contestants fluctuating over time. In concrete terms, however, 
what is perhaps the ultimate manifestation of inter-ethnic contact is that which 
occurs between or among the populations of the different groups, the patterns 
of settlement and territoriality, and the manner in which these patterns shift. 
One might even say that the geography of ethnic groups is a function of — that 
is, determined by — the interplay of forces on the more abstract levels of 
politics, economics and culture. In this sense, demographic trends may be seen 
as the outcome of broader conflicts. This is not to say, of course, that popu- 
lation change will not in and of itself be fraught with potentially serious 

In this paper I shall describe the manner in which the population of the 
dominant nationality of the USSR — the Russians — and that of the numerically 
largest minority — the Ukrainians — have interacted geographically since the 
advent of the Soviet regime. Unfortunately, it is not possible to go much 
beyond this period retrospectively, as the empirical evidence required is not 
suitable for our purposes; where practicable, figures from the only census of the 
ancien regime, that conducted in 1897, will be adduced. Beyond this descrip- 
tion, I shall attempt an explanation of these ethnodemographic patterns and the 
changes therein by reference to specific events or by relating them to longer- 
term determinants of population trends, most notably those concomitant with 
economic development. In conclusion, some implications of the ethnodemogra- 
phy of the Soviet Union are suggested. 

Because the issue of territoriality is of particular importance in ethnic group 
relations, we will focus attention on the extent to which Russians and 
Ukrainians have penetrated each other’s homelands. As defined here, the re- 
spective ethnic homelands are the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic 
(RSFSR) and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (UkSSR) as they are 
presently constituted. Clearly, the sub-national political unit structure of the 
USSR is not the perfect expression of ethno-territoriality. For one thing, the 


Ralph S. Clem 

inter-republic boundaries are not now nor have they ever been exactly 
coterminous with the area of settlement of their given titular nationalities. 
Further, the RSFSR contains a host of subordinate non-Russian ethnic units, 
which serves to dilute the “Russianness” of that vast republic. Nevertheless, the 
fact that for more than a half-century the RSFSR and the Ukrainian Republic 
have been formally, constitutionally recognized as ethnic homelands renders 
them meaningful representations of ethnoterritoriality and, as will be argued 
later, lends them a certain legitimacy. 

Data and Methods 

Heretofore, the principal obstacles connected with a study such as that 
proposed here have been the many problems attendant to the data required to 
describe and analyze the historical economic and demographic trends that have 
taken place in the various regions and among the different ethnic groups of the 
USSR. An example of such problems would be the changes which have 
occurred in both the national territory and in the internal political-adminis- 
trative unit structure of the Soviet Union from time to time, changes which ef- 
fectively rule out any longitudinal analysis at a relatively fine geographical 
scale based directly on the census data as published. Further, such seemingly 
unambiguous terms as “urban” or ethnic identification were defined differently 
from census to census and even within the same census. Hence, although the 
broad outlines of population change and its correlates in the USSR have been 
apparent for some time, the censuses of the USSR — which are our chief 
sources of information on Soviet society — have been underutilized owing to 
these and other technical difficulties. 

To overcome these obstacles we have derived from the original census 
figures a unique data set which allows for a description and analysis of social 
and demographic trends in the USSR from the early years of Soviet power (as 
evidenced in the 1926 census) through the post-World War II era (as 
manifested in the 1959 census) to the present (represented by the 1970, 1979, 
and 1989 censuses). This data set is based on consistent definitions and the 
figures have been ordered into territorially comparable units. 2 As a spatial 
framework for purposes of description and analysis we chose 141 krai/oblast/ 
ASSR level units as they were defined in the 1959 census. 3 

In order to solve the problem of internal territorial comparability, data from 
the 1926 Soviet census were fitted into the 1959 base units by means of two 
area allocation procedures (one primary and one as a check). In those few 
instances in which 1970 and 1979 census units differed from those of 1959, the 
1970/1979 data were likewise ordered into the 1959 units. Finally, the territory 
equivalent to the present-day USSR had to be “reconstructed” for the 1926 
benchmark by utilizing census data from various East European countries 
which ceded territory to or were incorporated into the Soviet Union in the years 

Demographic Change among Russians and Ukrainians 


before and after the Second World War. 4 

The data derived by this procedure include variables for each of the 
territorially comparable units for the censuses of 1926, 1959 and 1970 and 
partial figures for the censuses of 1979 and 1989; even at this writing, complete 
results of the 1979 census are not available. Data from the 1989 census are as 
yet available only at the republic level. The variables and their availability are: 

(1) Ethnic Composition, as enumerated in the Soviet censuses (mainly on the 
basis of self-identification), by oblast/krai/ASSR/republic, for 1926, 1959, 1970 
and 1979. 

(2) Urban Population, defined here as the number of people in each unit 
enumerated in cities with populations of 15,000 or more, by oblast/krai/ASSR/- 
republic, for 1926, 1959 and 1970. 

From these variables in turn we calculated two types of indices for the 
purpose of describing demographic patterns and trends: 

(1) Distribution Indices, which are simply the percentage of the nation-wide 
population of a given variable found in each of the 141 territorially comparable 
units. For each intercensal period (1926-59, 1959-70 and 1970-79) we also have 
a matrix of percentage-point change by unit for the variables. Of special 
significance in this category are figures which show the extent to which the 
different nationalities are concentrated in their respective ethnic territories. 

(2) Composition Indices, which indicate the percentage of the population of each 
unit accounted for by a given variable (or sub-population). Of particular interest 
among these indices is the level of urbanization, which — based upon the 
operational definition of “urban” given above — is the percentage of the 
population of each unit living in urban centres. Also, the ethnic composition of 
the urban 5 population is of special significance owing to the importance of the 
urban sector in the USSR; data on this aspect of population composition are avail- 
able for 1926, 1959 and 1970. 

Using this data set to provide the empirical evidence, we hope in the follow- 
ing sections of this paper to shed some light on the historical ethnodemography 
of Russians and Ukrainians in the USSR. Specifically, we will attempt to 
answer the following questions: 

(1) How many Russians and how many Ukrainians — both in absolute numbers 
and as a percentage of the total group — lived in their respective ethnoterritories 
and in each other’s ethnoterritories at the different census dates? These figures are 
found in Tables 1 and 2. 

(2) What percentage of the population of each nationality’s ethnoterritory was 
accounted for by the titular group and by the other group for the census years? 
These figures are found in Table 3. 

(3) What percentage of the urban population of each nationality’s ethnoterritory 
was accounted for by the titular group and by the other group for the various 
censuses? These figures are found in table 4. 

(4) For sub-republic units of the RSFSR and Ukraine, what percentage of the total 


Ralph S. Clem 

population was accounted for by Russians and Ukrainians at the census dates? 

These figures are found in Tables 5 and 6. 

It should be understood here that the ethnodemographic history of Russians 
and Ukrainians involves groups and regions other than the two principals and 
their given ethnic homelands. Thus, it would be ill-advised to omit references 
to third-party groups — such as the Jews — because at certain times and in some 
areas these other actors were important to the interethnic drama. Likewise, 
Ukrainians and Russians have interacted in regions other than Ukraine and 
Russia; Kazakhstan is an obvious example. Accordingly, although our study 
will follow the framework outlined above, peripheral considerations will of 
necessity be drawn into the discussion when appropriate. 

A Note on the Size of the Russian and Ukrainian 

One reason why the study of the relationship between Russians and 
Ukrainians assumes considerable importance is the simple fact that between 
them they have always dominated, numerically, the Soviet population. In 1926, 
according to one estimate, Russians and Ukrainians combined accounted for 
68.9 per cent of the total population on the territory of the present-day USSR. 6 
Although this figure cannot be compared directly to the 1897 census 
data — because the population was enumerated by native language rather than 
ethnic identification in the 1897 count — this apparently represents an increase 
over the comparable figure (63.8 per cent) for the later tsarist period, probably 
owing to higher than average natural increase among Russians and Ukrainians 
at that time. By 1959, the Russian-Ukrainian share had increased still further to 
72.4 per cent of the national total, and then began a slow decline to 70.3 per 
cent in 1970, 68.6 per cent in 1979, and 66.2 per cent in the most recent census, 
that taken in January 1989. 7 It is interesting to note, therefore, that the publicity 
concerning the rapid growth of the Soviet Muslim population notwithstanding, 
the Russians and Ukrainians still comprise a larger portion of the country’s 
population than they did at the turn of this century. We have estimated, in an- 
other study, that even by the year 2000 approximately 2 out of every 3 Soviet 
citizens will be either Russians or Ukrainians. 8 

1926: Geographical Patterns of Russian and Ukrainian 
Settlement in the Early Soviet Period 

The spatial distribution of the nationalities of the USSR in 1926 reflects the 
cumulative influence of the “normal” processes of demographic change as well 
as the vagaries of war, civil war and border changes. In this discussion, we will 
consider these patterns of ethnic population settlement in 1926 on the territory 
of the USSR as it is now configured. There are advantages and disadvantages 

Demographic Change among Russians and Ukrainians 


to this approach. The actual boundaries of the Soviet Union in its early years 
were, of course, considerably different from those of today, particularly in the 
Western regions, where- in 1926- much of contemporary Ukraine and 
Belorussia, and Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Moldavia were not part of the 
USSR. 9 As was noted earlier, for this study the population of these truncated 
areas was “reconstructed” from contemporary non-Soviet census data to derive 
a territorially comparable geographic framework. Although it is certainly 
advantageous to be able to trace demographic trends within standardized spatial 
units, some interpretational difficulties will arise. Most importantly, the ethnic 
composition of the excluded lands will be strongly influenced by the simple 
fact that they were not part of the USSR in 1926. That is, when these areas 
became part of the Soviet Union, population shifts occurred on the basis of that 
change alone. Not only did the populace realign (i.e., through migration), but 
one must assume that many persons re-identified themselves in ethnic terms 
subsequent to the change. 

On the present-day territory of the USSR in 1926 there were slightly more 
than 78 million Russians and almost 35 million Ukrainians (see Table 1). Of 
these totals, some 72 million Russians (92 per cent) lived in the RSFSR and 
about 27.5 million Ukrainians (78.9 per cent) lived in the Ukrainian Republic. 
However, the most important aspect of the Russian and Ukrainian settlement 
patterns involves the population of each group not living in its given ethno- 
territory. Here it is interesting to note that a much larger absolute number of 
Ukrainians were enumerated in the RSFSR (6.1 million) than there were 
Russians in Ukraine (3.2 million); see Table 1. This imbalance is further 
reflected in the distribution figures for each group (Table 2), which show a 
considerably higher percentage of the total Ukrainian population in Russia 
(17.5 per cent) than vice versa (4.1 per cent). 

In order to put these ethnic population distributions in their proper 
perspective, it is necessary to look at the patterns on a larger geographical scale 
(Tables 5 and 6). Within the RSFSR, for instance, one finds that in 1926 the 
vast majority of Ukrainians resided in oblasts contiguous with or very close to 
Ukraine; Belgorod, Kursk, Voronezh and Rostov oblasts and Stavropol and 
Krasnodar krais contained almost 4 million Ukrainians in 1926, about two- 
thirds of the Ukrainians in the RSFSR or approximately 11 per cent of all 
Ukrainians in the USSR in today’s borders. Rostov oblast alone had over one 
million Ukrainians in 1926, more than in all but 11 of the 25 oblasts of the 
Ukrainian Republic proper. No doubt much of the “exclusion” of Ukrainians 
from their own republic in this sense derives from the manner in which the 
inter-republic borders were drawn and is, therefore, artificial. Thus, it may not 
be correct to speak of many Ukrainians in the category “living beyond the 
boundaries of the Ukrainian SSR” as residing outside Ukrainian ethnoterritory 
for other than statistical purposes. Nevertheless, as will be seen later, this “ex- 
cluded” group of Ukrainians experienced considerably different demographic 


Ralph S. Clem 

tendencies than did their brethren in the Ukrainian Republic. In addition to this 
arc of dense Ukrainian settlement along the Russo-Ukrainian frontier, in 1926 
comparatively large numbers of Ukrainians were to be found across the steppe 
zone of the RSFSR through the Volga region (Saratov and Volgograd oblasts) 
and into West Siberia (Orenburg, Omsk and Novosibirsk oblasts and Altai 

Determining the ethnic composition of the Ukrainian Republic itself 
retrospectively is a more complicated undertaking, because the border changes 
involving territorial losses and gains were much more extensive than in the case 
of the RSFSR. Our estimates for the 1926 population in the 1959 boundaries 
suggest a total population for Ukraine of approximately 37.95 million, which 
compares with the figure of 38.57 million given by the Ukrainian demographer 
V. I. Naulko. 10 Of the republic total, we assessed the number of Ukrainians as 
27.5 million and Russians as 3.19 million (Table 1). Naulko derived a higher 
estimate for Ukrainians (28.63 million) and a datum almost identical with our 
own for Russians (3.16 million). By our reckoning, Ukrainians thus accounted 
for 72.5 per cent and Russians for 8.4 per cent of Ukraine’s population in 1926 
(Table 3), whereas Naulko reported 74.2 per cent and 8.2 per cent respectively. 

Such differences notwithstanding, the point must be made again that these 
republic-level figures disguise more meaningful sub-republic patterns. The- 
reason why this distinction is so important in the case of Ukraine is that the 
Russians were highly concentrated in the heavy industrial and mining districts 
of the eastern part of the republic. Thus, in 1926 one found almost half (47.8 
per cent) of the Russians in Ukraine in the five oblasts of Donetsk, Voroshy- 
lovhrad (Luhansk), Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhia, where they 
comprised almost one-fifth of the population. Even more importantly, the 
Russians in Ukraine occupied a disproportionately large share of the republic’s 
urban population (23.6 per cent; Table 4). By comparison, it can be seen that 
the Ukrainian population of the RSFSR was overwhelmingly rural; that is, 
Ukrainians constituted a much smaller percentage of the urban population than 
of the total population of Russia (see tables 3 and 4). In addition to those areas 
mentioned, Russians were also present in large numbers in oblasts bordering 
the RSFSR (Sumy and Chemihiv), in Kiev oblast, in the Crimea and in the area 
around Odessa. There were very few Russians in western Ukraine in 1926, 
mainly because these lands were not Soviet territory at the time. 

Two other points concerning ethnic population distribution in the early 
Soviet period must be made. First, the large Jewish population in Ukraine in 
1926 — the “third-party” phenomenon to which we referred above — complicates 
the ethnic settlement pattern further. We calculated the 1926 Jewish population 
of Ukraine in its present borders at 2.39 million; Naulko gives a figure of 2.49 
million. The key here, however, is that the Jews exhibited a strong presence in 
cities of Ukraine; in 1926, Jews accounted for 24.43 percent of the republic’s 
urban population, a larger share than that of the Russians. Secondly, the contact 

Demographic Change among Russians and Ukrainians 


and mixing of Russians and Ukrainians was evident in areas other than Russia 
and Ukraine. This was especially true in Kazakhstan, where 1.3 million 
Russians and about 800,000 Ukrainians were found in 1926, primarily in the 
agricultural areas in the north. 

1959 : Russian and Ukrainian Demography in the 
Postwar Period 

The period of Soviet history between the censuses of 1926 and 1959 
encompasses dramatic social and economic change as well as the traumatic 
events of collectivization, famine, the Great Patriotic War, and the realignment 
of international frontiers. All these factors resulted in major alterations of the 
ethnodemographic landscape, with significant consequences for both the 
Russian and Ukrainian populations. Unfortunately, as the intercensal period 
was of such long duration, it is difficult to separate causes from effects; the 
census of 1939 is of little value because it has never been published in its com- 
plete form and is now largely discredited. In any case, the two outstanding 
ethnodemographic trends of the 1926-59 time frame were: (1) the drastic 
reduction of the Ukrainian population in the RSFSR; and (2) the rapid growth 
of the Russian population in Ukraine. We will focus our discussion of the 
1926-59 periods around these two phenomena. 

The sharp decline in the number of Ukrainians in Russia occurred primarily 
in that area of the RSFSR contiguous with or close to Ukraine, stretching from 
Kursk through Belgorod, Voronezh, Rostov, Krasnodar and Stavropol. This 
zone of formerly dense Ukrainian settlement, where some 3.8 million 
Ukrainians lived in 1926, contained only 587,000 Ukrainians in 1959. 
Accounting for this precipitous drop is problematic and contentious. It is 
known with certainty that the famine which struck many agricultural areas of 
the USSR in the early 1930s was particularly devastating in the North 
Caucasus, a factor that obviously would have reduced the number of Ukrainians 
in this region. A comparison of census figures for 1926 and 1939 revealed 
virtually no growth in the population of the Kursk-Stavropol zone; Lorimer 
estimated population growth in this area as the lowest in the USSR between 
1926 and 1939." Not all of the deficit in population for this region can be 
attributed to calamitous events, however, as many of these oblasts — especially 
those of the Central Chernozem region — and krais have been characterized by 
out-migration throughout the Soviet era. War losses after 1939 through much of 
this zone must also have been appreciable. Although there was some increase 
in population from 1939 to 1959, it was modest indeed and not nearly what 
would have been expected under normal circumstances. 

Yet, the most important aspect of this situation is that the number of 
Russians in this same area did not decline at all; rather the Russian population 
in the six units listed above jumped from 8.3 million in 1926 to 12.8 million in 


Ralph S. Clem 

1959. The increase in Russians was especially noteworthy in Rostov oblast and 
Krasnodar krai, the very units in which the Ukrainian decrease was most 
pronounced. These changes are of such magnitude as to warrant explication. In 
1926, our estimates show about 1.3 million Russians and 1 million Ukrainians 
in Rostov oblast; by 1959 there were more than 3 million Russians but only 
138 thousand Ukrainians. Similarly, in 1926 the Ukrainian population of 
Stavropol krai stood at 558,000, a figure which dropped to a mere 43,000 in 
1959; meanwhile the Russians increased from about a million to 1.6 million. 
For Krasnodar krai, the Ukrainians went from 694,000 to 146,000 between 
1926 and 1959, whereas the Russian population grew from 1.25 million to 3.36 

This countervailing trend among Russians might be explained in one of two 
ways: (1) it is possible that the Ukrainian population was reduced through 
famine and war and/or out-migration and was subsequently replaced by a huge 
Russian in-migration; or (2) some reduction in the number of Ukrainians as in 
(1) occurred, but a portion of their losses involved assimilation (ethnic re- 
identification) of Ukrainians to Russians. Although there is no way of resolving 
this question definitively, we believe that the evidence favors the second 
argument. The 1926 census showed, for example, that nearly one-half of 
Ukrainians in the North Caucasus declared Russian as their native tongue; it is 
generally considered that adoption of another language as the native tongue is 
conducive to ethnic re-identification. 12 Another factor promoting Russification 
among Ukrainians outside their own republic has been the almost total absence 
of educational and cultural institutions employing the Ukrainian language. 13 
This is the most important consequence of the border delimitation that excluded 
so many Ukrainians from their official ethnoterritory, where such services 
would be provided. Without these supporting institutions, it must be assumed 
that the Ukrainian ethnic identity was eroded more quickly than would usually 
have been the case. 14 On balance, it would appear that the assimilation of at 
least several hundred thousand Ukrainians to Russians explains in some 
measure the decline in the Ukrainian population of the RSFSR. 15 

The second outstanding feature of the 1929-1959 period was the pro- 
liferation of Russians throughout the Ukrainian Republic. The size of the 
Russian increase was of such proportions (3.9 million) as to almost equal the 
growth of Ukrainians in their own ethnoterritory (4.7 million); see Table 1. 
Consequently, the Russians’ share of Ukraine’s population jumped from 8.4 per 
cent in 1926 to 16.9 per cent in 1959 (see Table 3). The ethnic Russian pres- 
ence in Ukraine, however, became even more pronounced in the eastern region 
of the republic than it had been earlier (see Table 6). Thus, the five oblasts of 
eastern Ukraine (Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Voroshylovhrad and 
Kharkiv) experienced an increase in the Russian population from 1.5 million in 
1926 to over 4 million by 1959. As a result of this dramatic growth, Russians 
comprised 30 per cent of the combined population of these units in 1959, up 

Demographic Change among Russians and Ukrainians 


from 19 per cent in 1926. More importantly, the Russians’ share of the urban 
sector in the eastern region also soared, to the extent that in the five oblasts 
listed above, Russians formed between one-quarter and one-half of the city 
population. In addition to the substantial Russian growth in eastern Ukraine, 
they also became much more numerous in the Crimea (where they comprised 
71 per cent of the population) and in Kiev. Further, the Russians established at 
least a small presence in the various units of western Ukraine (see Table 6), 
where they had been virtually absent in 1926. 

Despite the tremendous increase in the Russian population of Ukraine, there 
actually occurred something of a demographic “Ukrainization” of the republic 
between 1926 and 1959. That is, the Ukrainians increased their proportion of 
the total and of the urban population over this period, with the rise in the 
Ukrainian share of the urban sector being especially significant (see tables 3 
and 4). This seeming inconsistency — whereby both Ukrainians and Russians 
accounted for larger shares of the population — is explained by the huge drop in 
the “third-party” groups in Ukraine, particularly Jews and Poles. The number 
of Jews fell from about 2.4 million in 1926 to 840,000 in 1959, and the Polish 
population on the territory of the present-day Ukrainian SSR shrank from 
approximately 2.2 million to 363,000 over the same period. 

Ethno demo graphic Trends in the Contemporary Period: 


Demographic trends among Russians and Ukrainians and in their specific 
ethnoterritories can be characterized for the most part as a continuation of earli- 
er tendencies. The principal exception to this generalization is the levelling off 
of the Ukrainian population in the RSFSR. Apparently, in the 1970s the previ- 
ous trend (evident during the 1960s) toward net in-migration of Ukrainians to 
Ukraine was reversed, and perhaps 150,000 Ukrainians moved out of their own 
republic to the RSFSR, Belorussia and the Baltic republics. 16 Thus, there was a 
small decline in the percentage distribution figure for Ukrainians enumerated in 
the Ukrainian SSR (Table 2). This trend continued through the 1980s, as the 
Ukrainian population shifted increasingly toward the RSFSR. 

Otherwise, the number of Russians in Ukraine continued to grow apace, 
exceeding the 11 million mark in 1989 and accounting for more than one-fifth 
of Ukraine’s population in that year (tables 1 and 3). In fact, for the first time, 
the intercensal growth of Russians in Ukraine between 1970 and 1979 actually 
exceeded that among Ukrainians, resulting in a relative decline in the propor- 
tion of Ukrainians in the republic’s population. Within Ukraine, the Russian 
share of the industrial east increased to 35.3 per cent by 1979 and the Russian 
population of the Crimea jumped from 858,000 in 1959 to 1.46 million in 1979. 

One interesting point which runs counter to the foregoing is the growing 
share of Ukrainians in Kiev. Between 1959 and 1970 and again between 1970 


Ralph S. Clem 

and 1979 the Ukrainian component of Kiev’s population increased from 60.1 
per cent to 64.8 per cent and then to 68.7 per cent by 1979. Even though the 
Russian population in Kiev increased in absolute terms, they lost ground to the 
Ukrainians, and the Russian share has fallen from 23 per cent in 1959 to 22.4 
per cent in 1979. 

Toward an Explanation of Ethnodemo graphic Trends in 
Russia and Ukraine 

Clearly, the most important trend in the demographic history of the Soviet 
nationalities has been the spatial redistribution of the Russians. This re- 
distribution occurred mainly to regions of economic development in the USSR, 
regardless of whether or not the developing regions were Russian ethnoterritory 
or non-Russian lands. Thus, the proliferation of Russians in the official 
Ukrainian ethno- territory is part of a country-wide pattern to which there are 
few exceptions. 17 We have suggested elsewhere that it is fruitful conceptually to 
view the Soviet Union as an ethnically stratified society, one in which the 
dominant group (i. e., the Russians) will enjoy a favored position. 18 One aspect 
of this privileged status is a greater geographical mobility, facilitated by the use 
of the Russian language as a lingua franca and the spread of Russian culture 
into the non-Russian ethnoterritories. 

Another factor at work in promoting the migration of large numbers of 
Russians to non-Russian lands has been the ability of the Russians to fill the 
need for skilled labour as regions develop economically. The influx of so many 
Russians to the heavy industrial zone of the eastern Ukraine is an example of 
this phenomenon. Owing partly to chance and partly to their superior position 
in the Russian and Soviet state, the Russians were among the very first ethnic 
groups to be exposed to the social and economic updrafts engendered by 
industrialization. Hence, from their ranks could be drawn the cadres of workers 
required by expanding industry and related activities. 19 Once their presence was 
established, a certain inertia set in, because areas of economic growth would 
take on an ethnic Russian character which would in turn attract additional 
Russians (and repel other groups). 

This large-scale movement of Russians to non-Russian areas has — without 
much doubt — impeded the socio-economic development of the non-Russian 
peoples indigenous to those areas. Simply put, in many cases the Russian 
migrants have taken jobs which otherwise might have gone to the local 
populace. There are, unhappily, no census data available directly which provide 
details of the ethnic composition of the work force in Ukraine (or, for that 
matter, in any other area of the USSR). A Soviet scholar, however, utilizing 
unpublished census materials, has furnished information on the share of the 
total and indigenous employed population of 13 republics — including 
Ukraine — in white-collar and blue-collar (i.e., non-agricultural) jobs. 20 The 

Demographic Change among Russians and Ukrainians 


figures for Ukraine indicate that about 6.6 percentage points fewer employed 
Ukrainians worked in the non' agricultural sector in Ukraine than was true for 
non-Ukrainians in the republic, and that this discrepency was essentially un- 
changed over the Soviet period. Furthermore, because the Russians have 
steadily augmented their share of the total population of Ukraine, their 
numerical dominance in the modem sector of the republic’s economy has actu- 
ally increased. Consequently, in 1970 — the latest year for which we have data 
on the subject — the majority of Ukrainians in the USSR remained rural 
dwellers despite the fact that their republic was one of the most advanced 
economically in the Soviet Union, a testimony to the prevalence of Russians in 
the urban centres of Ukraine. 

As was noted earlier, in the first years of Soviet power there were actually 
more Ukrainians in Russia than Russians in Ukraine. By 1979, this situation 
had been dramatically reversed, not just because of the Russian migration to 
Ukraine, but also owing to the drastic reduction in the number of Ukrainians 
living beyond the borders of Ukraine. Originally, most of the Ukrainians 
outside the Ukrainian Republic were rural dwellers in predominantly agri- 
cultural areas; Ukrainians formed an important component of the migration 
stream eastward across the steppe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth 
centuries. 21 More recently, however, the “excluded” Ukrainians are consider- 
ably more urbanized than those in Ukraine proper, and are more highly 
educated as well. This attests to what may be an increasingly more prominent 
role for Ukrainians as what Pokshishevsky called “sputniki peoples,” or 
surrogates for the Russians in non-Russian, non-Ukrainian ethno- 
territories. 22 

The political implications of the shifting ethnic patterns of settlement I leave 
to others. Suffice it to say here that greater ethnic mixing has often led to 
heightened tensions; the notion that such contacts increase understanding 
among peoples seems to be unfounded. As Roman Szporluk has pointed out, 
Russians in Ukraine are a minority only in the statistical sense, and the impact 
of their ever-increasing numbers on the ethnic dynamic in the republic, includ- 
ing the sensitive language issue, is profound. 23 On the other hand, the presence 
of 4.4 million Ukrainians in the RSFSR (1989 population: 147 million) would 
not seem to represent much of a challenge to the maintenance of Russian ethnic 
indentity. In conclusion, we might say that the consequences of ethno- 
demographic trends have been and will likely continue to be of much greater 
import to the Ukrainians and their homeland than to the Russians. 



Ralph S. Clem 

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Demographic Change among Russians and Ukrainians 


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Demographic Change among Russians and Ukrainians 


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a 1926 estimates from: Ralph S. Clem, “The Changing Geography of Soviet Nationalities 
and Its Socioeconomic Correlates: 1926-1970,” Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, 
Columbia University, New York, 1975, Appendix I. 1959 figures from: Itogi 
Vsesoiuznoi Perepisi Naseleniia 1959 goda — RSFSR (Moskva: Gosstatizdat, 1963), pp. 

Demographic Change among Russians and Ukrainians 



Russians in the RSFSR a 


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a 1926 estimates from: Ralph S. Clem, “The Changing Geography of Soviet Nationalities 
and Its Socioeconomic Correlates: 1926-1970,” Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, 
Columbia University, New York, 1975, Appendix I. 1959 figures from: Itogi 
Vsesoiuznoi Perepisi Naseleniia 1959 goda — Ukrainskaia SSR (Moskva: Gossitatizdat, 
1963), pp. 174-178. 


Ralph S. Clem 


1 . In this paper, the terms “ethnic group” and “nationality” are considered synonyms 
and used interchangeably. In this regard, see Walker Connor, “A Nation is a 
Nation, is a State, is an Ethnic Group, is a...,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 1, no. 4 
(1978): 377-400. 

2. For a more complete description of these procedures, see R.S. Clem, “Estimating 
Regional Populations for the 1926 Soviet Census,” Soviet Studies 29, no. 4 
(1977): 599-602. For a full list of data sources, see Ralph S. Clem, “The 
Changing Geography of Soviet Nationalities and Its Socioeconomic Correlates,” 
unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, Columbia University, New York, 1975, Ch. III. 

3. Republics not subdivided into oblast/krai/ASSR level units were considered as 
individual units in their entirety. These units are the Estonian, Latvian, 
Lithuanian, Moldavian, Azerbaidzhan and Armenian SSRs. The Azerbaidzhan 
SSR does include an ASSR (Nakhichevan), but this unit is so defined only 
because it is not territorially contiguous with the republic. 

4. Specifically, the countries involved and the year of the census used were: Finland 
(1930); Estonia (1922); Latvia (1925); Lithuania (1923); Poland (1931); 
Czechoslovakia (1939); and Romania (1939). Because these census dates did not 
correspond exactly to the 1926 Soviet census, data from these enumerations were 
projected forward or backward to 1926 by interpolation with earlier or later 

5. Adna Ferrin Weber, The Growth of Cities in the Nineteenth Century (Ithaca, 
N. Y., 1963), Ch. 3; Jack P. Gibbs and Walter T. Martin, “Urbanization, 
Technology, and the Division of Labor: International Patterns,” American 
Sociological Review 27, no. 5 (1963): 667-77. 

6. For a more complete discussion, see Robert A. Lewis, Richard H. Rowland and 
Ralph S. Clem, Nationality and Population Change in Russia and the USSR (New 
York, 1976), Ch. 7. 

7. Ibid. For 1979 figures, see Vestnik Statistiki, no. 7 (1980): 41-2. 

8. Ralph S. Clem, “Population Growth Among Soviet Ethnic Groups: Recent 
Trends, Possible Causes and Implications,” Paper presented at the 13th National 
Convention of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, 
Asilomar, California, September 1981. 

9. There were, of course, some other, more minor changes. For details, see Clem, 
“Changing Geography of Soviet Nationalities...,” Ch. III. 

10. V.I. Naulko, Etnichnyi sklad naselennia Ukrainskoi RSR (Kiev, 1965), 78-82. 

1 1 . Frank Lorimer, The Population of the Soviet Union: History and Prospects 
(Geneva, 1946), 162-72. 

12. Brian D. Silver, “Ethnic Identity Change Among Soviet Nationalities: A 
Statistical Analysis,” Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. University of Wisconsin, 
1972, 25^41. 

13. Ivan Dzyuba, Internationalism or Russification? 2nd ed. (London, 1968), 109. 

14. Regarding the role of institutions in supporting ethnic identity, see Raymond 

Demographic Change among Russians and Ukrainians 


Breton, “Institutional Completeness of Ethnic Communities and the Personal 
Relations of Immigrants,” American Journal of Sociology 70, no. 2 (1964): 

15. Robert A. Lewis, Richard H. Rowland and Ralph S. Clem, “The Growth and 
Redistribution of the Ukrainian Population in Russia and the USSR: 1897-1970,” 
in Peter J. Potichnyj, ed., Ukraine in the Seventies (Oakville, 1975). The estimate 
of the decline in the Ukrainian population does not take into account expected 
natural increase from the base 1926 population; there is no reasonably accurate 
way of estimating natural increase for this period because vital statistics are 
lacking. This means, of course, that the deficit in the Ukrainian population 
discussed here should be considered a minimum, the actual figure no doubt being 
somewhat higher. 

16. Theodore Shabad, “Ethnic Results of the 1979 Soviet Census,” Soviet Geography: 
Review and Translation 21, no. 7 (1980): 463-5. 

17. Clem, “Changing Geography of Soviet Nationalities...,” Ch. IV. 

18. For the definitive treatment of the concept of ethnic stratification, see Tamotsu 
Shibutani and Kian M. Kwan, Ethnic Stratification: A Comparative Approach 
(New York, 1965). Regarding the application of the concept to the Soviet case, 
see Lewis, Rowland and Clem, Nationality and Population Change, 83-128. 

19. V.V. Pokshishevsky, “Ethnicheskie protsessy v gorodakh SSSR: Nekotorye 
problemy ikh izucheniia,” Sovetskaia etnografiia, no. 5 (1969): 3-30. 

20. Iu. V. Arutiunian, “Izmenenie sotsialnoi struktury sovetskikh natsii,” Istoriia 
SSSR, no. 4 (1972): 3-20. 

21. Lorimer, Population of the Soviet Union, 2-5. 

22. Pokshishevsky, “Etnicheskie protsessy...,” 6. 

23. Roman Szporluk, “Russians in Ukraine and Problems of Ukrainian Identity in the 
USSR,” in Peter J. Potichnyj, ed., Ukraine in the Seventies (Oakville, 1975), 

Peter Woroby 

Socio-economic Changes in the USSR and 
Their Impact on Ukrainians and Russians 

The purpose of this study is to investigate the demographic and economic 
relationships between Russians and Ukrainians that cover the period of the last 
fifty years. It is important to find out how each of these ethnic populations 
fared in relation to the other, what their natural gains and losses were, and how 
much they have been affected by famine, war and assimilation. One would 
expect that the Russians, being the dominant group, should have a better record 
than the Ukrainians, but how much better? 

The subsidiary question is that of regional distribution. What has happened 
to Ukrainians who lived outside the borders of the republic? Did their share 
increase or diminish, and how much? How do these results compare with the 
influx of Russians into Ukraine? Can one objectively speak about the intens- 
ified effects of Russification? 

The numerical changes in population which apply to both ethnic groups can 
be amplified by discussing the qualitative differences which exist between 
Russians and Ukrainians, such as occupational status, level of education, urban- 
rural settlement, etc. These qualitative differences are mentioned in our study, 
but do not receive the coverage they deserve because of the broad scope of our 
discussion and the primary emphasis placed on quantitative data. 

Along with demographic problems, one could investigate the economic 
relationships between the ethno-political territories of Ukraine and Russia. One 
can discuss the structural differences of both economies, their strengths and 
weaknesses, their degree of dependence on each other and the levels of their 
development. It should be of great interest to find out to what extent the two 
units have participated in economic progress and whether the benefits have 
been equitably distributed between them. 

The student of Soviet affairs can easily anticipate the forthcoming con- 
clusions. This paper supports the thesis that Russia and Russians have been 
favoured in comparison with other ethnic groups and ethnic territories; they 
record significant demographic and economic gains. Compared with them, the 
Ukrainians have suffered significant biological and ethnic losses, and the 
economic growth of their country has been greatly retarded. 

Socio-economic Changes in the USSR 


A. Demographic Changes 
Past Trends 

It is not difficult to reconstruct the past pattern of population growth for the 
principal ethnic groups in the USSR. Table 1 illustrates the point in question. It 
is confined to three ethnic groups and three enumeration dates— 1897, 1926 and 
1979. 1 Since there is a discrepancy in the political-administrative territory 
associated with these years, the statistical information has been adjusted for the 
common core territory, which is that of 1926. 2 


Composition and Growth of Ethnic Groups in the USSR, 


Millions of Persons Annual Rate of Growth 






























* Included are one-half of Russians ( 1 .4 millions) who reside in the Western territories 
which were annexed to the USSR after 1939. 

The results show that Ukrainians had the highest rate of growth in the 
1897-1926 period and by far the lowest rate — recording virtually no 
growth — in the 1926-79 period. One is easily tempted to equate this absence of 
growth with the effects of war, of famine during collectivization, and of 
assimilation. If these factors do indeed account for the lack of growth, one is 
anxious to know how they are interrelated and how much each contributed to 
the decline. Two related questions come to mind: can we determine what the 
increase in the Ukrainian population would have been if these events had not 
occurred? How would their numbers have compared with those of other leading 
nations of Europe? 

One can attempt to answer these questions by making a realistic assessment 
of the probable rate of growth under more favourable circumstances— such as 
those enjoyed by the Russians — taking into consideration war losses, but not 
the effects of collectivization. The rate of growth of Russians would appear to 
be a logical choice for such a comparative evaluation, except for one important 
component in that growth rate — assimilated persons. If, however, adjustments 
were made for this factor, one could readily accept the adjusted rate as an 


Peter Woroby 

approximation of the natural increase applicable to Ukrainians. 3 

There are no records which would show the extent of assimilation among 
Ukrainians or other ethnic groups. In the absence of such records, however, one 
can study the increase in the numbers of ethnic nationals who consider the 
Russian language their mother tongue. Some authors think that these groups 
represent the first stage in the assimilation process. 4 Although such an 
interpretation might be disputed, the quantitative data measuring the extent of 
cultural transformation are useful for our purposes. 


Effects of Linguistic Conversion in the USSR, 


Cultural Russians Cultural Assimilation Cumulative Increments 


































Table 2 shows that 9.9 million persons among non-Russians have adopted 
the Russian mother tongue in the 1926-79 period. If we accept that the same 
intensity applied to the process of ethnic assimilation which is not recorded, 
then one must adjust the figure for the Russian population in 1979 accordingly, 
i.e., subtract 9.9 from 137.4 million. This procedure yields 127.5 million 
Russians inhabiting the present administrative territory and 126.1 million if 
adjusted downward to 1926 political boundaries. Translated into the rate of 
natural growth this is equivalent to .92 per cent per annum (lower than 1.06 per 
cent) or 62.5 per cent, if applied to the cumulative effects over the entire period 
(instead of an unadjusted figure of 75.0 per cent). These, then, are the rates to 
which one would refer when projecting the growth of the Ukrainian population. 

One should hasten to add that the above calculation would not yield a final 
result. One must reduce the figure further by subtracting the amount of 
assimilation. The last column reveals the magnitude of linguistic transfer, 
which accounts for 16.6 per cent in the total increase of ethnic Russians. When 
applied to the non-Russian population, which is smaller than the Russian, this 
rate changes to 18.8 per cent. 5 In the subsequent calculations we have assumed 
the incremental rate of assimilation to be 15 per cent for Ukrainians in Ukraine 
and twice as high (30 per cent) for Ukrainians outside the republic’s bounda- 
ries. The combined avarage of the two components yields the exact avarage rate 
of 18.8 per cent. 

Socio-economic Changes in the USSR 


Russian Gains and Ukrainian Losses 

We have already alluded to Russian gains in the period 1926-79, which 
were estimated at 9.9 million. This represents a surplus of 7.8 per cent of the 
total population, which would have been secured through natural growth (127.5 
million). One assimilated person has been added to 13 persons of Russian 
extraction at the end of the period under analysis. When related to the increase 
of ethnic Russians (49.8 million), assimilation assumed the abnormally high 
ratio of 1:5. 


Estimated Changes of Ukrainian Population by Regions, 

(Millions of Persons) 



Ukraine and 



1939 Political Boundaries: 

Population, 1926 




Natural Increase (1926-79, 
.92% per year) 




Transfer of Population 




1979 Estimate, 1939 Boundaries 




Territories Added after 1939: 

Western Ukraine 




Western Belorussia 








1979 Estimate, Present Boundaries 




1979 Actual Population 




Total Deficit 




Magnitude of Assimilation 




Incremental Rate (%) 




Unexplained Deficit 




* Consists of 30% of natural increase and 15% of transferred population. 

We find it advisable to reconstruct the Ukrainian gains and losses in greater 
detail, specifying them by geographic region and functional type. 


Peter Woroby 

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Peter Woroby 

From the statistical information listed above one can conclude that there 
should be close to 60 million Ukrainians today — a figure which appears quite 
reasonable in comparison with the past numbers and growth of other European 
nations, such as Great Britain, France, and Italy. One-third of this total consists 
of a moderate growth of less than 1 per cent per annum covering the period of 
53 years. This is a net rate which makes allowance for war losses at least to the 
same extent as they applied to the Russian population. The actual increase 
barely exceeds 2 million, which amounts only to one-eighth of the expected 
growth (it is calculated by subtracting the total deficit of 17.00 million from the 
natural increase of 19.37 million). Losses due to assimilation, estimated at 3.6 
million, are evenly split between Ukraine and other regions. They represent 5.5 
per cent of the potential Ukrainian population within the political borders of the 
1926 republic and 12.0 per cent of the expected number of Ukrainians outside 
these borders. These are new additions to those who were assimilated previous- 
ly and whose estimated numbers in 1926 were of the same magnitude. 6 

Most revealing, however, are the residual deficits, which amount to 5.25 
million in Ukraine. If the rate of assimilation has been adequately assessed, as 
well as the outflow of 2.3 million migrants to territories outside the political 
borders of the republic, then this number might represent the biological loss of 
the Ukrainian nation due to collectivization and excessive war losses. The re- 
maining shortage of population would still be very significant, even if more 
liberal allowances have been made for assimilation and emigration. As account- 
ed here, the residual loss represents 15 per cent of the estimated Ukrainian 
population within the 1926 boundaries. The effects of collectivization apply 
also to the Ukrainians settled in the neighbouring regions of Kursk, Voronezh, 
Don and Caucasus; they yield one additional million, which raises the total loss 
to the enormous figure of 6.25 million — one-third of the natural increase. 

The other alarming result of the analysis is the deficit of Ukrainians outside 
the republic’s boundaries. It amounts to 7 million, after one allows for 3 million 
lost to assimilation and collectivization. This figure does not represent the 
biological loss and cannot be identified with accelerated assimilation, even 
under the worst possible circumstances. It exceeds the natural growth by 2 
million and cuts deeply into the original ethnic substance. Out of a population 
of 8 million in 1926, the 1979 census shows the retention of 5.25 million, actu- 
ally 3.25 million when one excludes 2 million unassimilated immigrants from 
this figure. This is equal to a 60 per cent reduction of the initial number of 
Ukrainians, which is scarcely credible. In view of such an improbable result, 
one must draw the conclusion that the figures for ethnic Ukrainians outside the 
republic are fraudulent and have been artificially doctored. These figures are 
intended to suggest that Ukrainians have ceased to exist outside the boundaries 
of their republic, particularly in their traditional block settlements and border 
territories. This is evident from the statistical information in Table 4, which 
breaks down the results into various settlement regions. 

Socio-economic Changes in the USSR 


The results (Table 4) show that areas which absorbed an influx of new 
immigrants have retained 80 per cent of the estimated population and the 
settlements in Asia and the Volga region 50-65 per cent, while the 
neighbouring territories of the Black Soil region, Don and North Caucasus 
account for less than 10 per cent of the 1926 population. Approximately 5 
million persons are missing in the latter region after one has allowed for losses 
due to assimilation and collectivization, with one million persons attributed to 
each factor. This result is unbelievable. If it were caused by increased assimila- 
tion, one would expect a different pattern: greater intensity of Russification in 
the remote territories and lesser intensity in the areas surrounding Ukraine. It 
appears that the Soviet statistic is meant to make the point that the 
administrative boundaries of Ukraine coincide with its ethnic territory, and that 
Ukrainians should make no claims to the neighbouring territories. This 
underlying objective is also evident in the ethnic atlases of the USSR, which 
show the progressive shrinking of Ukrainian settlements in areas bordering 

Russification of Ukraine 

The demographic annihilation of Ukrainians outside the borders of the 
republic has been accompanied by the numerical increase of Russians in 
Ukraine. The global dimensions of this process are listed in Table 5. The re- 


Ethnic Composition of Ukraine, 

1926 and 1979 
(Millions of Persons) 










A. Millions of Persons 





















B. Percent Shares 






















Peter Woroby 

suits apply for comparable territories, which are confined to the political 
borders before 1939, including the Crimea. They show a tremendous increase 
of Russians, who now amount to one-quarter of the total population and exceed 
a 1:3 ratio vis-a-vis Ukrainians. This is almost a threefold increase when 
compared with the ratio that obtained in 1926. The significance of this increase 
diminishes somewhat when viewed in relation to Ukraine’s present territory, in- 
cluding the western regions. The Russian share of population in Western 
Ukraine is insignificant in spite of concerted efforts to increase their presence. 
The other interesting feature of the tabulated results is the decline by two-thirds 
of other ethnic groups (Jewish, German and Polish, for example) which 
enhances the polarization between Ukrainians and Russians. 

One should also stress that the rate of increase of Russians in Ukraine has 
become ever more significant in recent years. In the period 1959-70, the com- 
position of increments was 61 Ukrainians vs. 39 Russians; in 1970-79 the ratio 
was 47 to 53 (see Table 6). Translated into compound rates of annual growth, 
the results show that the Russian increase was three times as great as the 
Ukrainian in the period 1959-70 and four times as great in 1970-79. 


Growth of Ukrainians and Russians in Ukraine, 



and Russians 

Population (Mins) 













Increases (Mins) 









Percent Shares 









Annual Rate of Growth 









An important factor is the concentration of Russians in urban centres (see 
Table 7). 

The results of 1970 show the share of Russians in urban areas to be five 
times higher than in rural areas. This in turn reflects the weak representation of 
Ukrainians in cities and towns as compared with the rural areas (62.9 per cent 

Socio-economic Changes in the USSR 



Rural-Urban Composition of Ukrainians and Russians 
in Ukraine 1970 

Millions of Persons 

Percent Shares 




Ukrainians Russians 























vs. 89.2 per cent). 

Additional insights into the role of Russians in Ukraine can be gained when 
one analyzes their geographical distribution. Table 8 reveals their massive pres- 
ence in certain areas, which is very inconvenient, if not dangerous, to the 
economic and political integrity of the republic. 

It is apparent from the table that the primary area of Russian concentration 
in the East is the Donbas, along with the surrounding Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk 
and Zaporizhzhia oblasts. The Russian population in these areas exceeds 35 per 
cent, and its urban share must be more than 40 per cent (three to four points 
higher than in 1970). The oblasts of Donetsk and Voroshylovhrad approach the 
45 per cent mark, and a relatively high representation can be observed in 
Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia oblasts (more than 30 per cent in total and more than 
25 per cent in urban centres). The “weakest” link, although with strong Russian 
representation, is the political-administrative area of Dnipropetrovsk (more than 
20 per cent and 25 per cent). The eastern region accounts for more than one- 
half of the Russian population in Ukraine (close to 6 million). 

The other area of Russian density is the south, which is anchored by the 
Crimea on one side (Russians make up more than two-thirds of its population) 
and the Odessa region on the other. Although the latter administrative unit has 
only 36 per cent Russians in urban centres, it also has fewer Ukrainians than 
one would expect (48 per cent). 7 Between these two poles are the oblasts of 
Mykolaiv and Kherson, where Russians have a 20 per cent share of the total 
and 25 per cent of urban population. There are more than 2.5 million Russians 
in this region, which is exactly one-quarter of their total number in the republic. 

One-fifth of the Russian population (2 million) is distributed over the re- 
mainder of the territory, which comprises 16 oblasts (out of a total of 25) and 
has a population of 26.0 million (out of a total of 49.6 million). The overall 
Russian share in these areas is less than 8 per cent, with the only significant 
concentration, exceeding 20 per cent, occurring in the capital city of Kiev. The 
urban component in other centres, although stronger than in rural areas, does 
not exceed 15 per cent. 


Peter Woroby 


Geographical Distribution of Russians in Ukraine, 

Urban & Rural, 1979 1970 Urban 

Millions Percent Millions Percent 

I High Concentration: 
A East 
ICore Area 
















2Adioining Area 





















Core & Adjoining 







ICore Area 






2Adjoining Area 





















Core & Adjoining 






Total East & South 





Low Concentration 






North Central Areas 





Western Area 










All Ukraine 





The preference of Russians for settlement in urban centres and in specific 
geographic areas has produced a dangerous situation for Ukrainians. Deliberate 
acceleration of the same type of immigration is capable of changing the ethnic 
composition of the territories in question and tilting them toward the Russian 
majorities in urban centres. 

Most vulnerable are territories where Russians have high numerical rep- 

Socio-economic Changes in the USSR 


resentation and a high percentage of the total population. The foremost 
candidates are the oblasts of Voroshylovhrad, Donetsk and Odessa. Slightly 
more than half a million new immigrants are required for Russians to gain com- 
plete dominance in urban centres. The next line of attack appears to be the 
oblasts of Zaporizhzhia and Kharkiv, which would require an increase of 
800,000 Russians. One would have to add about 1,350,000 persons to the 4.5 
million Russians now living in these five administrative areas. This would be 
an increase of exactly 30 per cent. 


Russian Deficits in Urban Centres in the Selected Areas 
of Ukraine, 1970 

(Thousands of Persons) Russians 

Ukrainians Russians Russian per 100 

Deficit Ukrainians 

A. Low 

1. Voroshylovhrad 





2. Odessa 









B. Moderate 

1 . Donetsk 





2. Zaporizhzhia 





3. Mykolaiv 





4. Kherson 









c. High 

1. Kharkiv 





2. Dnipropetrovsk 









Relatively resistant to such pressures appears to be the oblast of Dni- 
propetrovsk; it would require more than one million Russian immigrants to 
balance the ethnic Ukrainians. Because of their size the oblasts of Mykolaiv 
and Kherson require a modest immigration input, which amounts to one-half of 
that required for Dnipropetrovsk. They have a low level of urbanization and a 
relatively high share of Ukrainian urban population. It can be assumed that 
future economic development (i.e., industrialization) would absorb more of the 
Ukrainian rural population and favourably affect the strength of Ukrainians in 
urban centres. Barring the increases in immigration the Russian deficits might 
become numerically larger. 


Peter Woroby 

The analysis of the geographical distribution of Russians in Ukraine reveals 
a geopolitical situation that is liable to bring about a shrinkage of Ukrainian 
ethnic territory in two strategic areas: territories of the east, which are highly 
industrialized, and of the south, which is an indispensable access to the Black 
Sea. Should established patterns and trends of Russian immigration continue, 
present-day Ukraine could easily become a much smaller and weaker state. 
This possible development appears to be a logical extension of the previously 
discussed disappearance of the Ukrainian population outside the eastern borders 
of Ukraine (Black Soil, Don and North Caucasus regions). Thus the advantages 
gained through the extension of the ethnic territory in the past are now being 
forcibly taken away by the Soviet regime. 

The numerical strength of Russians in urban centres and specified territories 
is closely related to their occupational and social standing, which is higher than 
that of Ukrainians. This can be deduced indirectly from their levels of educa- 
tion as they apply to urban dwellers and the entire population. For comparative 
purposes the same information has been provided for Russians and Ukrainians 
in Russia (See Table 10.) 

Taking the Russian population in Russia (urban and rural combined) as a 
reference point, one can observe that the Russians in Ukraine exceed the 
comparative standings by 40-50 per cent, particularly in the four top classi- 
fications. Ukrainians in turn are 30 per cent below the applied standard in the 
three highest categories and 10 per cent below in the remaining two. Relating 
the two ethnic groups in Ukraine to each other, one can see the overwhelming 
superiority of Russians at high levels of education (special intermediate and 
above), exceeding a 1:2 ratio. This effect, which can be attributed largely to the 
urban-rural patterns of settlement, is nevertheless still pronounced among the 
urban population. The participation of Ukrainians in higher educational groups 
is 25-30 per cent below the comparable rates of Russians. Undoubtedly this 
must be related to differences in social status between these two ethnic groups. 

The surprising fact revealed by this comparison is the educational profile of 
Ukrainians in Russia. They exceed the level of Russians in a fashion similar to 
that of Russians in Ukraine. The applicable spreads are even larger in both the 
entire and the urban population, indicating that Ukrainian immigrants must 
occupy responsible administrative and professional positions to a greater degree 
than one would expect from their numerical representation. One might also 
speculate here about the level of resistance to assimilation, which appears to be 
positively correlated to educational achievement. 

Although the demographic relationship between Russians and Ukrainians 
cannot be described exhaustively in this article, it should be noted here that 
Russian strength in Ukraine is also qualitatively reflected in the overrep- 
resentation of Russians among academics, candidates and Ph.D.s, members of 
the Academy of Sciences, scientific workers, editorial staff of journals, etc. 8 All 
these features enhance their social and political position and place them at a 

Educational Level of Russians and Ukrainians 
in Ukraine and Russia, 1970 
(per Thousand Persons 10 years old and over) 

Socio-economic Changes in the USSR 


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Peter Woroby 

higher level than one would expect from the analysis of quantitative data. 

B. Economic Changes 

It is difficult if not impossible to appraise the relationship between two inter- 
mixed ethnic groups that populate each other’s territory. The proper method of 
proceeding appears to be to identify them with their political-administrative 
units, which they dominate, and to concentrate on an economic analysis of the 
regions. Thus, Ukrainian fortunes can be assessed by determining the rank and 
role of Ukraine, while the welfare of Russians can be identified with the 
economic status of Russia. 

When comparing two regions, it is customary to review the structures of 
their economies and assess the intensity of their growth and development. 
Normally, this treatment should devote equal space to both component parts, 
Ukraine and Russia. This essay departs somewhat from the ideal of even- 
handedness, discussing the problems of Ukraine at greater length than those of 
Russia, since our purpose here is to assess in greater detail the results 
associated with the economic dependence of the small region on the large one. 
No less important is the need to reduce the voluminous statistical material re- 
quired for such a presentation. Notwithstanding this decision, the economic 
interests of Russia are adequately appraised, and the structure and development 
of Russia or the USSR are consistently used as an evaluation benchmark for the 
smaller region, Ukraine. 

Structural Effects 

The ultimate goal of politically independent states seems to be economic 
self-sufficiency or autarchy. In most cases this goal is pursued by larger 
countries that have a sufficiently diversified economic base. Viewed from this 
perspective, Ukraine is big and rich enough to fall into this category, fully 
comparable with the principal nations of Western Europe. The same applies, to 
an even greater degree, to ethnic Russia. 

Regardless of its size, no country in the world can rely solely on its own 
resources and its capacity to deliver all economic goods and services. There 
will always be some deviations from the desired objective — deficits or 
surpluses of various kinds — which can be rationally explained and tolerated. 
Some might be due to the lack of natural endowment, while others may be 
caused by a deliberate economic policy. This latter aspect is particularly 
important when evaluating the structure of the Ukrainian and Russian econo- 

Soviet statistical sources do not provide integrated indicators that measure 
the contribution of various republics in the main fields of economic activity. 
Their information refers to selected branches of industry and agriculture 
expressed in terms of physical output and therefore not properly comparable 

Socio-economic Changes in the USSR 


with one another. 9 They do, however, reflect the approximate strength or 
weakness of each of the republics in specific sectors of the economy. The 
proper method of analysis is to calculate regional shares for various types of in- 
dustry and to compare them with the corresponding shares of population. The 
resulting discrepancies, appraised for the size of their variation, can then be 
identified as abnormal deficits or surpluses. They are listed in tables 11-13. 

Before undertaking a detailed interpretation of the compiled information, we 
would like to stress the existence of potential conflict between the well-being of 
the part (Ukraine) and the whole (the USSR or Russia). Their optimization 
goals are not necessarily the same. As a rule, the smaller region must 
subordinate its functioning to the interests of the larger region. In practical 
terms, this means taking over the assigned role of economic specialization and 
moving away from the desired self-sufficiency. Thus the structure of industry 
in a small region might significantly vary from the structure that would exist 
under conditions of political or economic independence. The rationale for allo- 
cation of economic activities within a large region and the resulting advantages 
need not necessarily correspond with the requirements and interests of its 
constituent part. 

There are two suitable examples for this argument. First, when natural gas 
was discovered in Dashava in Western Ukraine and a pipeline was built to 
transport it to urban centres, the first beneficiary of this project was not Kiev, 
the capital of Ukraine, but Moscow, the capital of the USSR and Russia. The 
second example concerns two coal basins in Ukraine, the Donbas and the Lviv- 
Volhynia deposits. To minimize the cost of transportation, one would expect 
that the western source of coal would supply all oblasts of Ukraine located west 
of Kiev. This, however, is not the case. Donbas coal moved as far westward as 
Zhytomyr and Rivne, while Lviv-Volhynia coal went to the Baltic republics 
and Leningrad. 10 From the point of view of a large region, this probably makes 
good sense, but judged in terms of benefits to the Ukrainian economy it makes 
sense of a different kind. 

The effect of dominance, integration and specialization can best be observed 
when reviewing the structure of various sectors of economic activity in 
Ukraine. In the case of agriculture (Table 11), Ukraine is well endowed with 
natural resources and occupies a leading role in Soviet production. This applies 
to all the main products of land and livestock operations with the exception of 
rye, rice and wool. Also relatively low is the output of potatoes, while such 
technical cultures as sunflower, maize, millet and beans are twice as strong as 
one would expect them to be on the basis of the participating rural population. 
The greatest concentration occurs in sugar-beet production (three times as 
strong). Historically the spread in proportions has been altered in a positive 
way through decline in such products as sugar beets, maize, buckwheat and 
fruit and increases in flax and rice. One undesirable effect is the decline in the 
production of potatoes, rye and wool. 


Peter Woroby 

TABLE 1 1 

Intensity of Agricultural Activities in Ukraine, 
1975 and 1940 

(Expressed as Percent of USSR Production) 



Entire Population 



Rural Population 



A. Land Products 

Sugar Beets 




































B. Livestock Products 













Moving into the industrial sector of the Ukrainian economy (Table 12), we 
observe the relative dominance of food and black metallurgy, the latter being 
recorded in the category of “other.” On the deficit side there is a significant 
underrepresentation of textiles, machines, pulp and paper, and chemical 
production. While the relative levels of output in such industries as food, black 
metallurgy, and pulp and paper are understandable, being associated with the 
surplus or lack of natural resources, the low level of textiles, machinery and 
chemicals in Ukraine is not justified. The reference to sectoral rates of growth 
indicates that lags in these industries have existed for some time and are not 
likely to disappear in the near future. These negative findings apply also to the 
overall growth rate of industry in Ukraine, which is approximately 15 per cent 
lower than that of the USSR. Compared with Russia, for which data were 
temporarily not accessible, this spread must be even wider. 

Socio-economic Changes in the USSR 



Structure and Growth of Industrial Production in 
Ukraine and the USSR in 1975 
(Based on Gross Value of Production) 


Percent Shares 

Annual Rate of Growth* 





Electrical Power 




















Pulp and Paper 





Building Materials 
























* Covers a period of 35 years with 1940 production serving as a basis of evaluation. 

Deep insight into the structure of individual industries can be gained from 
the next three tables. Table 13 shows Ukraine’s participation in the heavy 
industrial sector, while Tables 14 and 15 deal with the production of household 
and personal goods. Concentrating on the findings of Table 13, we can see the 
leading role of Ukraine in extractive industries such as coal, pig iron and steel. 
The contribution of Ukraine to the USSR economy approximates the 1.5:2 ratio 
of the population. In the past these shares were from 2.5 to 3 times as high. 
Ukraine depends completely on imported oil, since its own resources, although 
developing, are still insignificant. Its output of natural gas, on the other hand, is 
increasing and can be regarded as adequate if judged by the standard of all- 
union production. 

Of special interest is the structure of the machine industry, which is charac- 
terized by a very high concentration of such machines as locomotives, boxcars 
and bulldozers. These products are bulky and require significant volumes of 
steel or iron. To minimize the cost of production and transportation, they must 
be produced in the vicinity of supply and, insofar as possible, of demand as 
well, hence the assigned role of specialization for Ukraine. The story is much 
the same for the production of turbines, tractors and excavators. 

Concentration of this kind is more than offset by the lack of industrial output 
in trucks, buses and passenger cars, carriage wheels, metal-pressing and cutting 
machines, etc. Further inspection of data not listed here reveals additional types 
of machines not produced in Ukraine or produced in very insignificant volume. 


Peter Woroby 


Ukraine’s Contribution to the Major Lines of 
Industrial Production in the USSR, 1975 and 1940 
(Expressed as Percent of USSR Production) 



Entire Population 



Urban Population 



1 . Power Generation 



2. Fuel 




Natural Gas 






3. Metallurgy 

Pig Iron 






4. Chemicals 

Mineral Fertilizers 



Sulphur Acid 



Calcium Soda 



Caustic Soda 



Synthetic Material 



5. Machines 










Passenger Cars 



Trucks and Buses 












Metal Cutting 




Pressing Machines 



Carriage Wheels 



6. Pulp and Paper 

Cut Wood 



Lumber Products 






Socio-economic Changes in the USSR 


7. Construction 

Window Glass 







8. Textile Fabric 













* 1950 Data. 

This is the category of machines and equipment for industrial plants, shipyards, 
mines and power stations, electric locomotives, railway coaches, grain com- 
bines, and so on. Taken together, the underrepresented and missing industries 
are more sophisticated in nature and serve as the hard core of industrial devel- 

There is evident a deliberate reduction of Ukraine’s chemical output, partic- 
ularly of soda and synthethic materials. These products were produced at a high 
level in the past and have a favourable resource base even today. The down- 
ward adjustment has created significant deficits. 

Neither the pulp and paper industry nor the textile industry has shown much 
development. The weak status of the first is quite understandable because of the 
lack of wood in Ukraine. This situation has not changed appreciably in the last 
thirty or forty years. Textiles, however, can be successfully developed in 
Ukraine. Some improvement has been recorded in the production of silk, linen 
and cotton fabric, while wool production has remained unchanged. Textiles 
have been regarded historically as an exclusive domain of Russian industry, 
and this is still evident today. 

The established pattern of machine and textile industries is wholly reflected 
in the production of consumer goods for personal and household needs 
(Table 14). The figures show that Ukraine has been assigned the specific role 
of producing disproportionally large numbers of television sets, vacuum 
cleaners, electric irons and record players, but at the same time is denied the 
opportunity of delivering significant numbers of refrigerators, washers, electric 
stoves, radio receivers, cameras and motorcycles. Judging by the weight of the 
Ukrainian population in the total population of the USSR (approximately 20 per 
cent), the production of these goods is one-half to three-quarters short of maxi- 
mum potential. This appears to be a recent development, since (as 
Table 14 indicates) there was a drastic falling off between 1965 and 1975. To 
trace the historical trend back to 1940 is impossible because of the 


Peter Woroby 


Production of Selected Household Goods in Ukraine, 
1975 and 1965 

(Expressed as Percent of USSR Production) 



Entire Population 















Electric Stoves 



Electric Irons 



Vacuum Cleaners 






Record Players 



T.V. Sets 












Zinc Utensils 



Enamel Utensils 



Aluminum Utensils 















unavailability of statistical data and low levels of electrical-goods production at 
that time. Also entirely missing among Ukraine’s manufactures are such 
products as watches, various types of musical instruments, phonograph records, 

The production of consumer goods (see Table 15) such as food corresponds 
more or less to the proportions recorded in the agricultural sector-an abundance 
of sugar, vegetable oil and salt, with other products oscillating around the share 
of population. The output of fish products, as one would expect, seems least 

Socio-economic Changes in the USSR 



Production of Selected Consumer Goods in Ukraine, 
1975, 1965 and 1940 

(Expressed as Percent of USSR Production) 




Entire Population 




A. Food 





























Vegetable Oil 








Canned Goods 




























B. Clothing 





Shirt and Underwear 




Outer Clothing 




Leather Shoes 





Peter Woroby 

developed, and Ukraine has an unjustifiably low share in the production of 
flour. Garment industries adequately maintain their weight in the production of 
stockings, shirts and underwear, but fail in the production of outer clothing. 
One must add that most of the required fabric (one-half or more) is imported 
from Russia. The production of leather shoes appears to be adequate. 

Generalizing these findings, we can state that the USSR practices a 
territorial specialization of production which is unfavourable to Ukraine. It 
forces her to produce disproportionately large amounts of goods in industries 
based on natural resources and deliberately deprives her of more sophisticated 
machine, chemical, textile and household-goods industries. The latter facilities 
are predominantly concentrated in Russia; this is a well-known fact, although 
we are unable to support it with statistical evidence. 

Such specialization leads to the dependence of the regions on one another, 
which is reflected in the internal exchange of goods among them. The types of 
exported and imported products closely follow established patterns of surplus 
and deficit industries. Thus Ukraine exports raw materials such as iron, coal 
and natural gas, some products of the chemical industry (unspecified), heavy 
machinery (e.g., locomotives and tractors) and agricultural products (e.g., 
sugar). The main imports, in turn, consist of machinery and equipment, textiles, 
timber, pulp and paper, coloured metals and oil. No statistical information was 
available to enable the author to illustrate the volume and composition of this 


Regional Participation in the Exchange of Goods 
with Ukraine, 1969 
(Expressed as Percent of Total) 

Import from: 

Export to: 









Baltic States 


Baltic States 










Kazakhstan and Asia 



Kazakhstan and Asia 



In addition to the composition of material exchanges one can analyze their 
origin and destination. This is recorded in Table 16, reproduced from a Soviet 
Ukrainian publication which in turn has been reconstructed on the basis of 
railway freight statistics. 12 It shows the overwhelming dependence of Ukraine 
on imports from Russia (87 per cent). This also applies, although to a lesser 

Socio-economic Changes in the USSR 


degree, to exports (62 per cent). The second place in Ukraine’s exports belongs 
to Belorussia and the Baltic republics (24 per cent), which import four times as 
much from Ukraine as they export. 

As a postscript to a discussion of the global structure of the Ukrainian 
economy one should consider the question of internal differences. Customarily 
the country is divided into three economic regions, east, south and west, which 
show extremely disparate levels of industrialization. The eastern region 
comprises eight oblasts (Voroshylovhad, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro- 
petrovsk, Kirovohrad, Kharkiv, Poltava and Sumy), accounts for more than 40 
per cent of the total population (21.0 million), and is the most advanced 
economically. Endowed with rich natural resources (coal, iron, manganese and 
natural gas), it has developed a very strong industrial base in machine-building, 
metallurgy and chemical production. In the southern region, which consists of 
four oblasts (Crimea, Kherson, Mykolaiv and Odessa) and has a population of 
7.1 million, industry is concentrated in the major urban centres, most of which 
are important naval ports. It has machine-repair shops and shipyards, food-pro- 
cessing enterprises (sugar refining, canned goods and fruit), and fish and wine 
industries. The least developed region is the western (the remaining 13 oblasts, 
with a population equal to or exceeding that of the eastern region). It has 
insignificant processing of locally mined coal, oil and natural gas. The same 
applies to pulp and paper mills, which are supplied with resources drawn from 
the surrounding areas. The strength of the region is a highly developed industry 
(sugar, alcohol beverages) that reflects its predominantly agricultural character. 
There is also a considerable surplus of under-employed labor. Strangely 
enough, the level of development of the three economic regions coincides with 
the concentration of Russian settlements which were discussed previously. 

Economic Growth 

In evaluating the economic position of a major region such as Ukraine, one 
should not only look into the level of goods and services produced but also 
investigate its rate of economic growth. To counterbalance inherited in- 
equalities, one could expect the strong region to grow more slowly than the 
weak one. The same applies to individual economic sectors, which would aim 
to achieve reasonable parity through growth. Unfavourable conditions exist, 
however, when this is not the case, when the strong region and strong sector 
grow faster than their weak counterparts. A classical example of this situation 
can be found in comparing the rate of growth in Ukraine with that of Russia. 

References have been made previously to the increase of industrial pro- 
duction in these two economic and political regions which showed Russia at a 
definite advantage (Table 12). Economic development extends, however, 
beyond this orbit. It also comprises agricultural production, transportation, dis- 
tribution and other related services. Normally one can measure the 


Peter Woroby 

contributions of these sectors and their growth through values added to the 
national product (gross or net), but information to which we are accustomed in 
the West is not readily available for the USSR. A painful effort of 
reconstruction would be required, with many important links still missing in the 
final results. Information required for a regional comparison would be particu- 
larly incomplete and inadequate. 

The high rate of growth in a certain region may be self- sustained, drawn 
from the wealth of the region’s own natural resources, or it may be achieved 
with the assistance of other regions. In the latter case growth relies heavily on 
the import of capital from other territories. This assistance is highly beneficial 
to the receiving region, accelerating its growth of investment and production, 
but it is detrimental to the exporting region, whose rate of economic growth 
and development is thereby diminished. The question of capital flow between 
Ukraine and Russia has been discussed by various economists. 13 The consensus 
is that Ukraine has subsidized the development of Russia at an annual rate of 
10-20 per cent of capital earnings. The rate has fluctuated, of course. In fact, 
this trend was briefly reversed during the period of post-war reconstruction. 
Overall, however, the magnitude of the subsidy exceeds significantly the export 
of capital to Imperial Russia, which oscillated between 3 and 5 per cent. 

The influx and outflow of capital is only normal in dealings between two 
sovereign nations. It is an economic transaction with a debit and a credit side, 
in which the importing country must retire its obligation. It does so through the 
export of domestically produced goods, or it allows the other country to acquire 
a share of its own assets in the form of foreign ownership. Whatever the virtues 
of such an exchange, the receiving country benefits by adding the borrowed 
capital (i.e., external savings) to its own, thus accelerating the growth of its 
investments and production. In the relationship between Ukraine and Russia the 
values of imported and exported goods were not properly counted and the 
transfer of ownership was completely ignored. What took place was the 
systematic economic exploitation of the junior partner by the senior one. 

The author of this study has approached the problem of economic relations 
between Russia and Ukraine — the evaluation of their gains and losses — in a 
somewhat unusual way. He started by searching for a standard that would 
substitute for capital flow and yet render a suitable denominator for all 
economic transactions. He found it in the level of urbanization. After all, urban 
centres play a very important role in the economic and non-economic life of the 
country; they provide location and employment for industries, transportation, 
finance and trade; they are also cultural, political and administrative centres. 
High levels of urbanization must always be associated with more advanced de- 
velopment of the above activities, and low levels with less advanced. 

Evaluating these effects in 1939 and 1979 in Ukraine and Russia, which 
comprise the comparable if not fully identical territories in both time periods, 
we find that both countries started from the identical position of 33.5 per cent 

Socio-economic Changes in the USSR 


urban population. 14 Forty years later, Ukraine has reached 61.3 per cent, while 
Russia has advanced to 69.3 per cent. This is a spread of 8 points, which 
reflects a potential urban deficit in Ukraine of 4 million persons — a very signif- 
icant result. Translated in terms of employment, it means a lack of 2 million 
workers in manufacturing and related urban activities. This represents a 
shortage of some 1.5 million living quarters and numerous industrial establish- 
ments. It also has a weakening effect on the development of cultural and 
recreational infrastructure. 

If four million additional urban dwellers were properly distributed in 
Ukraine, they would double the population of 40 urban centres with 100,000 
persons each, or alternatively they would do the same for 80 centers that now 
have only 50,000 inhabitants. One should stress that these are very important 
centres; they can be considered thresholds or “growth poles” of industrial de- 
velopment and are relatively weak at present. 

Not only did Russia experience a high rate of urbanization, which is identi- 
cal with its high rate of economic growth, but it did so with the added 
advantage of regional equalization. This did not apply to Ukraine, which 
endured both a low level of urban growth and the continuation of existing 


Progress and Variation of Urbanization in 
Ukraine and Russia, 1939-1979 







Upper Quartile 










Lower Quartile 





Range of Variation 





Coefficient of 





Table 17 shows the upper and lower levels of urbanization for Ukraine and 
Russia in 1939 and 1979. They have been computed as arithmetical means for 
the administrative areas which had a higher or a lower share of urban popu- 
lation than the general area. The spread between them, which is called range of 
variation, is almost identical in Ukraine and Russia in 1939, as is the coefficient 
of variation. 15 But these conditions had changed dramatically by 1979. The 
range of variation in Russia had narrowed to two-thirds of the variation in 
Ukraine. This was achieved by a deliberate effort to intensify the urbanization 


Peter Woroby 



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Socio-economic Changes in the USSR 


process in the economically backward areas. The incremental gains in these 
areas exceed the gains in the upper quartile; in practical terms, this brought 
about a narrowing of economic disparities among individual regions. 

The same effects can be measured through a frequency distribution of ad- 
ministrative units and their populations in relation to a level of urbanization 
(Table 18). 

The data reveal a disproportionate tilt in the distribution of total population 
in Russia above and below the 60 per cent level of urbanization which is the 
mean in Ukraine. While in Ukraine the applicable split is as one would normal- 
ly expect — a 50:50 ratio — in Russia it is a 70:30 ratio. Most interesting is the 
very end of the distribution, the class interval of 45 per cent urbanization and 
less. In Ukraine it has an abnormal share of 30 per cent of the total population, 
while in Russia it barely exceeds 2 per cent. It applies to four small 
autonomous republics, and in Ukraine it comprises eleven oblasts whose 
territory constitutes more than 36 per cent of the total area of the republic. The 
least urbanized administrative unit in Russia is Dagestan, with 39 per cent 
urban population; in Ukraine the last rank belongs to Temopil oblast, with 31 
per cent. Altogether there are seven provinces in Ukraine (18.6 per cent of total 
population, 19.2 per cent of total territory) which are below the lowest level of 
urbanization in Russia. 


Geographical Pattern of Urbanization 
in Ukraine, 1979 

No. of Population (Millions) Percent Urban 










Non Admin. 




























In geographical terms the most urbanized part of Ukraine is the most 
industrialized region of the east, with 75.4 per cent urban population (see 
Table 19). Next in rank is the south with 62.8 per cent, which closely 
approximates the republic’s average. The least urbanized is the west, with 47.1 
per cent urban dwellers. In addition to the regional inequality, most urban 
residents are concentrated in administrative-political centres which are also the 
largest centres in the given areas. They comprise more than 40 per cent of the 
total urban population. Taking them out of the scope of analysis, i.e., out of the 
urban and total population, one can calculate the reduced rate of urbanization 


Peter Woroby 

for the remaining centres. While the overall rate drops below 50 per cent, the 
most significant downward adjustments apply to the southern and western 
regions. Eastern Ukraine still holds a relatively strong position. From the point 
of view of urbanization one can split Ukraine into two halves along the Kiev- 
Odessa axis, the economically advanced and urbanized east and the 
underdeveloped, predominantly rural west. 

On the basis of this analysis one can draw very painful conclusions 
regarding the Ukrainian-Russian relationship. It has never been satisfactory. 
Imperial Russia favoured industrial development (e.g., textiles) in her own 
ethnic territories and suppressed Ukrainian national development. It pursued a 
deliberate policy of Russification and Russian settlement in Ukraine. On the 
positive side, Ukrainians had the opportunity to extend their ethnic territory to 
the south (access to the sea), east (Black Soil region) and beyond the natural 
boundaries, moving in great numbers into North Caucasus. Less beneficial was 
immigration into the Volga region and Asia, which are far removed from the 
mother country. In spite of these disadvantages and political pressures the 
Ukrainian settlers were able to preserve their ethnic and cultural identity, as 
was confirmed in the results of the 1926 census. 

Compared with these results, which are almost benevolent, Soviet rule 
brought a tragic biological and ethnic annihilation of Ukrainians within and 
outside the present political boundaries. The scars of collectivization are still 
with us. They reflect a cumulative loss of more than six million people, with an 
additional eleven million apparently having been assimilated. The latter results 
are scarcely credible; at least one-half or two-thirds of this total must have been 
statistically falsified. In Ukraine the ratio of Russians increased three times to a 
point where they exceed 10 million today. 

Economically Ukraine has been assigned the role of supporting the develop- 
ment of the Russian territories, and is doing so by exporting significant 
surpluses of capital. The republic’s industrial production, which is subordinated 
to the needs of other parts of the union, is highly unbalanced. This causes 
Ukraine to depend economically on imports. While some progress has been 
made, it does not measure up to the standard of economic growth and rate of 
urbanization that apply to Russia. If we extrapolate the past trend in these two 
fields, we will find that Russia is eight to ten years ahead of Ukraine. One can 
regard this disparity as a cumulative result of past and present exploitation. 


1 . The sources of this tabulation are the census data of 1897 and 1926 as recorded in 
Vsesoiuznaia perepis naseleniia 1926 and partial results of the 1979 census 
published in Vestnik Statistiki, 1980. 

Socio-economic Changes in the USSR 


2. Population of 1979 was reduced by subtracting the following figures (millions of 






Western Ukraine 





Western Belorussia 

























All Territories 





The natural increase 


excess of 

births over 

deaths per thousand 

persons) of the two ethnic groups was approximately the same in the 1926-79 
period. The figures in Table 1 show that Ukrainians had a considerably higher 
rate of growth than Russians between 1897 and 1926. This trend must have 
continued until the Second World War. In 1940 Ukraine recorded 1.30 per cent 
and Russia 1.24 per cent annual increase. This situation drastically deteriorated in 
the period 1950-59 and then improved again in the last twenty years, assuming 
the following pattern: 

Annual Rate of Growth* 













This information has been reconstructed from Naselenie SSSR, 1973, pp. 70- 
71 and the annual Narodnoe Khoziaistvo SSR for successive years. 

One can reasonably argue that the recent decline in Ukraine as compared with 
Russia must have been offset by the higher rate of growth in the past, probably 
yielding the same rates of natural increase for both countries in the 1926-79 

4. B. Krawchenko, “Society in Ukraine in 1970,” unpublished paper (1981), 17. 
R. Szporluk, “Urbanization in Ukraine since the Second World War,” in 
Rethinking Ukrainian History, ed. I.L. Rudnytsky (Edmonton, 1981). 

5. This rate represents the percentage of 9.9 million persons subtracted from the 
natural increase of non-Russian ethnic groups. The Ukrainian population in 1979 
has been estimated to have had an average growth rate of .92 per cent per annum, 
others 1.18 per cent as recorded. 

6. The 1926 census shows 31.19 million ethnic Ukrainians in the USSR, out of 
whom 27.57 million considered Ukrainian their mother tongue. 


Peter Woroby 

7. This information and the statistical material listed in the preceeding tables has 
been derived from the last two censuses. The relevant sources for 1970 are Itogi 
vsesoiuznoi perepisi naseleniia, vols. I- VIII (Moscow, 1972), and partial results 
of the 1979 census published in various issues of Vestnik statistiki (1980). 

8. Reported in various demographic and economic yearbooks of the USSR and 

9. They are published in annual volumes of Narodnoe khoziaistvo SSSR and 
Narodnoe khoziaistvo Ukrainskoi RSR\ the most recent available at the time this 
essay was written were the issues for 1976 and 1977. 

10. See the related discussion and criticism in P.V. Voloboi and V.A. Popovkin, 
Problemy terytorialnoi spetsializatsii i kompleksnoho rozvytku narodnoho 
hospodarstva Ukrainskoi RSR (Kiev, 1972). 

11. There is considerable coverage of this topic in P.V. Voloboi and V.A. Popovkin. 

12. Ibid., 171. 

13. There are numerous investigations dealing with the subject; the most notable 
among them are the studies of V.N. Bandera and Z.L. Melnyk in The Ukraine 
within the USSR: An Economic Balance Sheet, ed. I.S. Koropeckyj (New York, 
1977). See also the findings of H.T. Wagener (ibid.), and T.W. Gillula, “The 
Economic Interdependence of Soviet Republics,” in Soviet Economy in a Time of 
Change, Joint Economic Committee (Washington, 1979). 

14. The missing link in 1939 was the oblast of Transcarpathia, which belonged at that 
time to Hungary. The exclusion of this territory from the comparison does not 
alter the rate of urbanization in Ukraine. 

15. Coefficient of variation is the difference between quartiles divided by their sum 
and expressed as per cent ratio. 

Formula: Q 3 - Q, 

x 100 

Q3 + Q. 

N. V. Riasanovsky 


First hearing and later reading the fifteen papers assembled in this volume, I 
was impressed, first of all, by their richness and by the number of truly 
interesting problems and materials they contained. Because students in my 
introductory classes are not likely to read this learned volume, I can even afford 
to confess that I learned very much from it, both in terms of basic information 
and in terms of a fundamental understanding of the issue of “Ukraine and 
Russia in Their Historical Encounter.” 

Professor Jaroslaw Pelenski’s initial contribution, both learned and lucid, 
deals with “The Contest for the ‘Kievan Inheritance.”’ It is an excellent intro- 
duction to a central and controversial problem, a problem which emphasizes, as 
perhaps no other, the remarkable historical and cultural closeness of the 
Ukrainians and the Russians, a key factor in the past, the present and presuma- 
bly the future relationship of the two peoples. I would only broaden the 
author’s third view of the inheritance, neither simply Russian, nor simply 
Ukrainian, but belonging fully to both peoples, to include non-Soviet historians, 
often much less biased than Soviet specialists. In more personal terms I am 
thinking of my father, Professor Valentin A. Riasanovsky, of my Harvard 
teacher, Professor Michael Karpovich, and indeed of Professor Jaroslaw 
Pelenski himself, who — although he prefers to treat the Kievan state and people 
not as firm entities from which other such entities were later derived, but as 
transitional phenomena in the process of evolution — splendidly apportions 
throughout his article and especially in its last two pages the Kievan inheritance 
between the Russians and the Ukrainians. 

Pelenski’s fundamental contribution is followed by five other historical 
papers: Professor Edward L. Keenan’s original “Muscovite Perceptions of 
Other East Slavs before 1654: An Agenda for Historians”; Professor H.J. 
Torke’s erudite, up-to-date, and critical discussion of “Muscovite-Ukrainian 
Relations in the Seventeenth Century” and in particular of the ungeliebte Bund 
of 1654; Professor Marc Raeff’s presentation of the Russian-Ukrainian 
“Intellectual and Political Encounter from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth 
Centuries,” with special attention to the universities of Kiev and Kharkiv; 
Professor E. Hoesch’s depiction of “The Ukrainian Policy of Paul I,” part of the 
ongoing reconsideration by a number of specialists of the historical role of that 
unfortunate emperor; and Professor Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak’ s pioneer- 
ing study of “Ukrainian and Russian Women: Cooperation and Conflict.” While 
Professor Pelenski guides his listeners and readers to the very emergence of the 


N. V. Riasanovsky 

Ukrainian-Russian problem and the resulting togetherness and also apartness of 
the two peoples in subsequent periods, Professor Raeff offers them particularly 
sound example and advice for treating Ukrainian-Russian relations in these 
later times. Ukraine and Russia, the Russian state, Ukrainian and Russian 
peoples meant quite different things at different points in history and in 
different contexts. Professor Raeff’ s own treatment of his subject is a model of 
historical awareness: of the distinction between the elites and the masses, of the 
changes in intellectual climate, of evolving self-definitions. The author also 
gives explicit directives: “nationalism” in our usual sense is a phenomenon that 

makes its appearance strictly in the nineteenth century (or at the earliest in the 
late eighteenth century in some instances). It should be sharply distinguished from 
the claims of regional and estate autonomies of ancien-regime states and societies. 

It cannot be extrapolated backward into the earlier period. Not only did ancien- 
regime regionalism refer to specific historical and legal events to justify its claims 
to autonomy, if not outright independence, but its concern was not the “nation”; it 
was only interested in the sense of identity and self-image of particular elites that 
were in existence at the moment the claims were raised. It was not an all- 
embracing psychological, political and cultural notion, but the limited pragmatic 
demand for the maintenance of traditional modes of public life. It is uncritical and 
anachronistic to project the concerns and basic assumptions of the new 
nationalism onto the earlier forms of regional and social autonomy . 1 

Professor Raeff s admonition is all the more relevant because it can well be 
argued that the greatest single failing and bias in the treatment of Russian- 
Ukrainian relations has been an anachronistic ascription and application to 
times past of modem romantic and integral nationalism, whether Russian or 

Three papers on politics follow the six on history. Professor John A. 
Armstrong, more theoretically inclined than other contributors to the volume, 
deals with “Myth and History in the Evolution of Ukrainian Consciousness” 
and pays special attention to “Myth, Symbol and Communications.” By 
contrast, Professor John S. Reshetar, Jr. is soberly factual and pragmatic, as 
well as a little sad. His “Ukrainian and Russian Perceptions of the Ukrainian 
Revolution” is essentially an expert examination of the much-discussed failure 
of that revolution, both because of the weakness on the Ukrainian side and 
especially because of the total Russian inability to appreciate the Ukrainian 
cause. Finally, Professor Yaroslav Bilinsky’s “Political Relations between 
Russians and Ukrainians in the U.S.S.R., the 1970s and Beyond” takes up the 
star-crossed relations between the two peoples fifty years after Professor 
Reshetar’ s period. It is a fascinating piece — perhaps especially for an ignorant 
outsider such as myself — which ranges from facts and interpretations of the 
current Soviet policy in regard to the nationalities to relations between Russian 
and Ukrainian dissenters. In contrast to a certain finality characteristic of 
Professor Reshetar’ s contribution, Professor Bilinsky’s reads like an ambivalent 



prolegomenon to an uncertain future. 

The three papers on “Culture and Religion,” which follow, have on the 
whole clearer foci than the political pieces, and they are all masterfully 
presented. First in order comes Professor James Cracraft’s elegant “The Mask 
of Culture: Baroque Art in Russia and Ukraine, 1600-1750,” followed by 
Professor George Grabowicz’s basic contribution, “Ukrainian-Russian Literary 
Relations in the Nineteenth Century: A Formulation of the Problem,” and 
Professor Bohdan Bociurkiw’s expert study of a limited but highly relevant 
subject, “The Issues of Ukrainization and Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church 
in Ukrainian-Russian Relations, 1917-21.” Language and the written word 
playing the role they have played in modem nationalism, Professor 
Grabowicz’s discussion of such topics as the four nineteenth-century views of 
Ukrainian literature goes ipso facto beyond questions of literary genre or 
literary criticism and indeed makes his piece one of the most important in the 
volume. As to the perennial problem of the closeness of the Ukrainians and the 
Russians, Professor Grabowicz begins his paper as follows: 

Since my avowed concern is with formulations, I should state at the outset that 
from my perspective the relation between Ukraine and Russia is not that of an 
“encounter,” even an “historical encounter,” but something much more intimate 
and long-lasting, in the language of Soviet pathos, a historical and indissoluble 
embrace, or, as others might see it, a Sartrian No Exit . 2 

The last section of the symposium contains two papers on “Economy and 
Demography”: Professor Ralph S. Clem’s “Demographic Change among 
Russians and Ukrainians in the Soviet Union: Social, Economic and Political 
Implications” and Professor Peter Woroby’s “Socio-Economic Changes in the 
USSR and Their Impact on Ukrainians and Russians.” More technical than 
others, they illuminate an extremely important aspect, or rather aspects, of 
Ukrainian-Russian relations, and carry major implications beyond their im- 
mediate contexts. The authors’ conclusions elucidate demographic trends 
unfavorable to the Ukrainians, who both suffered enormous population losses, 
especially during collectivization, and have been increasingly subject to 
massive Russian immigration. 

As an appendix the volume contains A. I. Solzhenitsyn’s “Open Letter to the 
Conference on Russian-Ukrainian Relations and to the Conference of Peoples 
Enslaved by Communism (Strasbourg)” and Professor Pelenski’s extensive 
commentary on it. 

At the risk of praising my associates, if not myself directly — a frequent 
academic risk— I would maintain that the excellent papers in this volume need 
no further justification than their particular contributions to their specific 
themes. Yet, as I tried to suggest in this brief conclusion, they also contain 
common threads and recurrent emphases which make them comprise indeed a 
joint volume. And such a volume in such a field is very welcome and makes 


N. V. Riasanovsky 

one hope for others to follow. 

The papers and the volume may also have ramifications beyond their imme- 
diate scholarship. Professor Omeljan Pritsak’s resounding introduction hails it 
as the first step in the Ukrainian-Russian dialogue. Professor Pritsak’s forceful 
declaration needs no amplification. It might be worth pointing out, however, to 
the casual reader that German contributors to the volume and, to use a telling 
phrase, “real Americans” (or Canadians) belong here as much as participants 
with more obviously Russian or Ukrainian names. They, too, provide some of 
the most convincing and some of the most controversial accounts and 
interpretations of the Ukrainian-Russian problem. Moreover, they, too, fre- 
quently are part of Russian or Ukrainian historiography, because for scholars at 
least, the issue, of course, is intellectual and not ethnic. 3 

It is also worth reminding readers and writers alike that historians and other 
scholars have been very bad prophets. It is apparently of the essence of history 
to be unique at each point and to defy prediction. On the subject of nations and 
nationalism, glorious states and nations have disappeared, while other appear 
historically, so to speak, from nowhere. I am referring not only to certain new 
states of the Third World, but also, for instance, to Finland, which had no 
independent historical past as a nation until 1917. Nor is this a derogatory 
remark, unless the scholar’s view of history is mandated to legislate for the 
future, a claim which has no justification. Worse yet, all of us, especially those 
engaged in intellectual history, know very well how scholarly opinions and 
objective determinations of one age become deeply ingrained prejudices for the 
next — there is no reason to exclude the 1980s and the years to follow from that 
process. Still, these and other such qualifications do not amount to proclaiming 
any opinion as good as any other, to denying all validity to the scholar’s work, 
or to objecting to the scholar’s and, indeed, the human being’s unceasing search 
for truth. Therefore, in a minor key, but as firmly as Professor Pritsak, I 
endorse a Ukrainian-RusSian scholarly dialogue, and wish it every success. 


1. See p. 81 above. 

2. See p. 215 above. 

3. How “outsiders” join Russian or Ukrainian historiography is a varied and 
involved process. I remember a colleague in the field who baffled me because, 
without any Russian background or any religious, ideological or cultural 
sympathies for Russia, he invariably followed the main line of Russian historio- 
graphy, sternly dismissing minority opinion. I decided in the end that, having fi- 
nally learned Russian very well, he was determined not to have to study any other 
East European language. 


On Ukrainian-Russian Relations 

The Organizing Committee of the First Conference on Ukrainian-Russian 
Relations, entitled “Ukraine and Russia in Their Historical Encounter,” which 
was held on 8-9 October 1981 at McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, 
invited Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to participate. Mr. Solzhenitsyn responded to 
the invitation with an “Open Letter” and an additional statement to the 
conference. Both were published before the conference took place, first in the 
Russian-language press, including Novoe russkoe slovo on 21 June 1981 
(no. 25,541) and, in Ukrainian translation, in Svoboda on 5, 6, and 7 August 
1981 (nos. 145, 146, 147). Mr. Solzhenitsyn’s open letter was read at the 
conference. Professor Jaroslaw Pelenski commented on this letter on behalf of 
the conference organizers. 

The English-language texts of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s open letter and 
Jaroslaw Pelenski’ s commentary are published here as documents relevant to 
Ukrainian-Russian relations. 


Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 

April 15, 1981 

To the Conference on Russian-Ukrainian 

Relations in Toronto [and] 
Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute 


May I express my sincere appreciation for inviting me to attend your 
conference. Unfortunately, my intensive work schedule makes it impossible for 
me to leave at this time and participate in any social activity. 

However, I should like to seize this opportunity to expound certain ideas in 
writing to which, I feel, your invitation has entitled me. 

There is no doubt that the Russian-Ukrainian problem is one of the major 
current issues and, certainly, of crucial importance to our peoples. Yet, it seems 
to me that the red-hot passion and the resultant sizzling temperatures are 
pernicious to that cause. 

In the Stalinist camps my Russian friends and I always stood up like one 
man with the Ukrainians — a solid wall against Communism with no room for 
denunciations and accusations. And the Russian Social Fund which I have cre- 
ated in recent years extends help broadly to Ukrainian and Lithuanian political 
prisoners, certainly to no less an extent than to the Russians and no difference 
is made between nationalities — all that matters are the victims of Communism. 

Is not this current intense rage of passions an emigre affliction — the loss of a 
sense of direction? In fact, very little is done to combat Communism (some 
major emigre groupings are still contaminated by socialist utopias) and the 
thrust of passions is wasted on accusing one’s brothers. I venture to suggest 
that the emigration reveals a certain tendency to overestimate its understanding 
and its perception of the true sentiments in the homeland, in particular, those 
who left their homeland long ago or were not even bom there. And should your 
conference initiate a fundamental dialogue on Russian-Ukrainian relations, you 
must never, for a minute, forget that relations between peoples and not between 
emigres are involved. 

Moreover, this issue, unfortunately, quickly slides down from a moral 
height, loses all conceivable depth and its historical perspective is reduced but 
to the cutting edge: separatism or federation (as if all problems ended on this 
side of that chord). Am I, perhaps, supposed to react to this question alone? 

I have repeatedly stated and am reiterating here and now that no one can be 
retained by force, none of the antagonists should resort to coercion towards the 
other side or towards its own side, the people on the whole or any small 
minority it embraces, for each minority contains, in turn, its own minority. And 
the wishes of a group of fifty people should be heeded just as much as the 
wishes of 50 million. Whatever the circumstances, the local viewpoint should 



be sought and implemented. And therefore, all problems can only be truly 
settled by the local population and not in remote emigre disputes tainted by a 
distorted judgement. 

This unrealistic atmosphere is, alas, well known. Just one characteristic ex- 
ample: last year I published an article in the American Foreign Affairs journal; 
its content and purpose: to warn the West against being lulled into the 
assumption that the greatest Communist evil that beset mankind for the past 
half century (even two centuries, beginning with the Jacobins) was a national 
Russian phenomenon. I emphasized that all peoples who have been enslaved by 
Communism during any decade and in any part of the planet Earth are (or may 
become) its victims. It would seem that in our time and age when Communism 
has been swarming in the festering hotbeds of all four continents, seized half of 
the world and found volunteers to do its bidding in each of the nations — there 
would be no room for such false prejudice, particularly, among those peoples 
and nations who had contact with Communism. However, I was stunned by the 
vehemently hostile and utterly paradoxical reaction to my article (not a word in 
it against Ukraine) on the part of a certain segment of the Ukrainian public in 
the United States of America. By way of example: there is L. Dobryansky’s 
article in the Congressional Record of June 1980, then, the pamphlet “The 
Captured Nations in the 1980’s”, published by the Ukrainian Congress 
Committee. Yet, I was castigated for my statement that the Russian people like 
all the others were enslaved by Communism (and no special rights were 
claimed for the Russian people) — for this alone, I was blasted with a shower of 
accusations such as being a champion of “militant Russian nationalism”, 
“Russian chauvinism” and, by implication, a “Communist quisling”. Professor 
Dobryansky’s article teems with a frenzied obsessively redundant hatred of 
Russians while Russia is spoken of in Marxist terms and modem Communism 
is referred to as mythical Communism! The pamphlet also resorts to the popular 
Leninist formula about Russia. To the present day, the authors of the pamphlet 
persist in referring to Mainland China and Tibet as countries seized by Russians 
and to the Russian people as the oppressors of the world (we wonder whether 
by inference the Russians themselves are supposed to thrive....). In the summer 
of 1980, at a Ukrainian meeting in Buffalo during the “Captive Nations Week” 
the main speaker laboured the idea as follows: Solzhenitsyn is indifferent to the 
enslaved peoples, he is sick and needs treatment (excellent Soviet phrase- 
ology!). Communism is a myth! he proclaimed. — Beware, not of the 
Communists, but of the Russians who want to conquer the world. 
(Russians — whose birth rate fell below a critical level, whose millions are 
starving, whose advocates of religious and national consciousness are flung into 

These emphatic professions of a “mythical Communism” may lure us all yet 
into becoming slaves on five continents and for ten successive generations. 
Apparently, there is no need for America to sober up and take stock of World 


Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 

Communism, there being no such problem per se. 

Indeed, in such an atmosphere and in such a state of benightedness there is 
no point in discussing the issue — any dialogue and conference would be 
fruitless. A sound assessment of the present and the future can only be deduced 
from an understanding of Communism as an international, historical and 
metaphysical evil and not simply as Moscow’s doings. (And any socialist 
aspect invariably camouflages and diminishes the villainous irreversibility of 

Listening to these smug assailants one wonders: do they really take them- 
selves to be Christians? But sowing hatred among peoples has never done any 
good to any side. Mutual goodwill should supersede and transcend razor-edged 
controversies. The principle of self-restraint and repentance must underlie any 
approach to national problems. 

I am particularly pained by the fierce intolerance that rages around the 
Russian-Ukrainian question (detrimental to both nations and beneficial only to 
their enemies) because of my Russian-Ukrainian origin and because I was 
raised under the combined influence of both cultures and I have never 
experienced, nor do I now, even the slightest antagonism between the two. On 
various occasions I wrote and publicly spoke of Ukraine and her people, of the 
tragedy of the Ukrainian famine. I have quite a few old friends in Ukraine and 
to me the sufferings of Russians and Ukrainians alike invariably occupy equal 
space in the Communist-enslaved peoples. In my heartfelt perception there is 
no room for a Russian-Ukrainian conflict and should, heaven forbid, the issue 
ever come to a head I can safely affirm: under no circumstances and at no time 
shall I participate in a Russian-Ukrainian clash or allow my sons to do 
so — whoever the reckless hotheads who would try to drag us into it may be. 

But in the thick of the population which suffers from Communism daily 
there is no mutual intolerance, all problems are viewed in depth and with a 
greater sense of responsibility. And our mutual twentieth century problems are 
not solved solely by the fact that once one of our branches fell under the Tatars 
and the other under the Poles or by arguing whether Ilya Muromets served Kiev 
as a Russian or a Ukrainian. The Russian-Ukrainian dialogue cannot simply 
follow the line of divergencies and divisions but should also embark upon the 
path of common characteristics which are not readily dismissed. We should 
draw on the plight and the national ordeals of our peoples (all peoples of 
Eastern Europe, in fact) and not on the experience of discord. Six years ago I 
already attempted to express this concept in an address to the Strasbourg 
conference of Communist-enslaved nations and am enclosing it now with the 
request to make it public at your conference. 



Thus, so much for my comments in the suggested discussion. 
This communication may be considered as an open letter. 

With best wishes, 
Sincerely yours, 

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 


Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 

Open Letter to the Conference on Russian-Ukrainian Relations 
and to the Conference of Peoples Enslaved by Communism 

This is to convey to you my heartfelt support for your attempt at making 
yourself heard in the parliament center of Western Europe which, at this 
juncture, maintains a precarious freedom, and for your attempt at speaking with 
the concerted voice of Eastern Europe. The unity of the peoples of Eastern 
Europe may be the last hope of this continent. The Western world is still 
holding its own but in its ossified arrogance it does not realize that it has been 
losing ground steadily on all levels of its current strength and intellectual 
endeavor and is becoming a provincial comer of the planet Earth. Eastern Asia 
fell in with the chorus of voices from Eastern Europe but a world which has not 
experienced the depths of suffering is deaf until it is directly hit and driven into 
the ground by the shock of extermination. 

You and I know that Communism is not some national figment of 
imagination but an organic pervasive gangrene on the body of mankind. By a 
callous and ignorant substitution of the term “Russian” for the term “Soviet” 
the crimes and new designs of World Communism are attributed to a people 
who were the victims of Communism earlier than others and longer than others, 
and who lost together with their brothers in sorrow — the peoples of the 
USSR — sixty million people! (in addition to forty three million lost by 
negligence in conducting war operations, see Prof. I. Kurganov). 

Steeled by our ordeals we must not let our national anguish get the upper 
hand on our sense of unity. Having experienced so much cruel suffering let us 
never inflict it upon our neighbors; let us seek the establishment of relations 
which would transcend those known to the modem world: not relations of 
mutual tolerance but of mutual magnanimity. 

My best wishes for success in the cause of rallying oppressed peoples and 
expanding the circle of those you will be representing in the future. The 
emigres from enslaved nations alone amount to millions of people. By uniting 
in mutual trust, by never yielding to the slackening and lulling temptation of a 
false security, by never forgetting our brothers at home, we shall speak up in a 
voice and with a force that will affect the course of world events. 

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 
September 27, 1975 



On the Need of Russian-Ukrainian Dialogue 
(Commentary on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 
“Open Letter to the Conference on Russian-Ukrainian Relations”) 

Before I address myself to the substance of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s open 
letter to the Conference on Russian-Ukrainian Relations, I would like to say a 
few words about the reasons why the conference organizing and advisory 
committees invited him to participate in this unprecedented scholarly event. 

As a Russian prisoner of conscience, a man of letters, an intellectual, and, 
above all, a human being, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn has demonstrated extra- 
ordinary courage in speaking out without constraint on the crucial issues of our 
time. Both in his native Russia and abroad, he has dared to expound highly 
unpopular views and to bring to our immediate attention the most tragic and 
appalling twentieth-century upheavals and conditions experienced by the 
nations of Eastern Europe. His courage to voice dissident opinions is 
acknowledged not only by his admirers, but also by those who, otherwise, do 
not share his views on many fundamental issues. 

Solzhenitsyn belongs among the few prominent contemporary Russians who 
have chosen to address themselves in their writings to the problems of Russian- 
Ukrainian relations, which are the principal subject of today’s conference. 
Although his contribution to the understanding of Russian- 
Ukrainian relations may not be impressive in quantitative terms, the opinions 
he has ventured to express on the relations between the two peoples, as they are 
most explicitly revealed in Part V of his monumental Gulag Archipelago 
(English translation [New York: Harper & Row, 1976], 44-6), bespeak a caring 
and sharing individual who is deeply involved in and sincerely concerned with 
the destinies of the two peoples and of the relations between them. 

For this reason, the members of the organizing and advisory committees of 
the conference felt it only natural that a discussion of Russian-Ukrainian prob- 
lems would be more fruitful if the views of Solzhenitsyn as an individual and 
as the most distinguished representative of that current in Russian cultural and 
social thought which, for lack of a better term, can be described as national, 
populist-conservative, and Orthodox-religious, were publicly aired at this first 
scholarly conference of its kind. 

Solzhenitsyn’s attitudes toward the Ukrainian people and Russian-Ukrainian 
relations are characterized by an ambivalent approach, symptomatic of the 
intellectual and cultural traditions from which he descended. His predisposition 
toward Ukrainians as a people and Ukraine as a country is humane and 
compassionate. In contrast to many Russians, both at home and abroad, he not 
only speaks with empathy of the Petliurovites (petliurivtsi ), who in his own 
words “were merely Ukrainian townsfolk and peasants who wanted to order 
their lives without our [Russian] interference,” and openly admits that during 


Jaroslaw Pelenski 

the revolutionary period of 1917-20 “we [the Russians] immediately crossed 
the border which we had recognized and imposed our rule on our blood 
brethren,” but he also has kind words to say about the Ukrainian nationalists 
with whom he shared the Gulag experience and whom he credits with having 
played an important role in organizing strikes and mutinies that were 
undertaken in the most notorious of the Soviet camps. 

Both in his major work, the Gulag Archipelago, which is permeated with 
observations indicative of a fertile mind with a keen sense of history, and in the 
open letter to the conference, he has openly acknowledged the significance of 
the Ukrainian problem and the crucial importance of Russian-Ukrainian 
relations. On the other hand, some of his political propositions, such as 
ascribing equal moral standing to the protagonists of the federalist and 
independent solutions to the Ukrainian problem and his ambivalent advocacy of 
the plebiscite in Ukraine on a province by province basis, provide grounds for 
skepticism concerning the extent of his genuine commitment to the ideas of 
self-determination and independence for Ukraine. 

Moreover, Solzhenitsyn should not have been “stunned by the vehemently 
hostile and utterly paradoxical reaction to his article on the part of a certain 
segment of the Ukrainian society in the United States of America” 
(“Misconceptions about Russia Are a Threat to America”, Foreign Affairs 58, 
no. 5 [Summer 1981]). Like any other public figure who takes a stand on 
important and controversial issues, he should have expected adverse reactions. 
There always will be those individuals and groups in the Ukrainian community 
who, on account of some dreadful personal or familial past experiences, or 
because of sufferings of their compatriots, will be antagonistically predisposed 
to any Russian-Ukrainian dialogue or, for that matter, to any kind of historical 
compromise, just as there always will be plenty of Russian, as well as 
Ukrainian, extremists and professional patriots who will seek to build careers 
on the anxieties, frustrations, and failures of their societies. 

It is true that the problem of Russian-Ukrainian relations is often debated in 
an atmosphere of emotion, passion, and mutual intolerance. But is Sol- 
zhenitsyn’s conclusion justified when he argues that “in such a state of 
benightedness there is no point in discussing the issue” and that “any dialogue 
and conference would be fruitless?” On the contrary. It is precisely because of 
the existence of such an unhealthy atmosphere, and because of the seriousness 
of the problem, that reasonable men and women on both sides should have the 
moral responsibility to engage in a dialogue and to search for at least 
theoretical answers to questions Solzhenitsyn himself acknowledges as “ex- 
tremely painful.” Is it not precisely the function of intellectuals and academics, 
who are best equipped with the necessary knowledge and capacity to analyze 
complex problems, to provide explanations to their societies of these problems 
and to offer some alternatives for their solution? Finding a solution to problems 
of Russian-Ukrainian relations is too serious a matter to be left to the 



antagonistically inclined forces in both societies, or to the proverbial Slavic 
destiny ( sudba , dolia ). 

Solzhenitsyn and, for that matter, a number of former dissidents who arrived 
in the West display understandable difficulty in comprehending certain 
assumptions under which open societies function. They expect their opinions to 
be accepted at face value, almost as if they were pronouncements ex cathedra, 
and seem to resent their being subjected to questioning and debate. Fur- 
thermore, they insist that emphasis be placed only on those issues and concerns 
that strengthen the sense of unity among the various national groups at home 
and in the diaspora. That approach may not be altogether in the best interest of 
all the parties involved. This has been well understood by leading figures in the 
Polish political opposition even before the developments which led to the 
founding of the independent trade union movement and the sociopolitical trans- 
formations in today’s Poland. In the late 1970s, a protracted debate took place 
among the representatives of various political factions in the Polish opposition. 
Some emphasized the need for avoiding controversial subjects and the necessity 
for stressing unity as the more desirable operative goal. The prevailing 
majority, however, came to the conclusion that it was much more important to 
exemplify to the Polish society the values of an open debate and of a 
democratic process. By analogy, what the Russian and Ukrainian societies, both 
at home and in the diaspora, need most at the present time is to follow that ex- 
ample and to encourage ideas in free and unencumbered debate even on the 
most painful subjects, provided, of course, that this debate be conducted in a 
civilized manner. 

Let me now comment briefly on Solzhenitsyn’s well-known position on the 
issue of communism and its intricate relationship to the political system and 
political culture of Russia’s past and present, as he raises them in his letter to 
the conference and elaborates upon them in detail in the aforementioned article, 
published in Foreign Affairs, to which he refers in the same letter. In summary, 
Solzhenitsyn rejects any connection between communism as ideology and 
political practice and the historical experience of Russia. He refuses to accept 
the possibility of any link between traditional Russian imperial, and contempo- 
rary Soviet imperial, policies. Concretely, he argues in favor of an approach 
that stresses the exclusively totalitarian and internationalist nature of the Soviet 
communist system, a perfectly plausible approach that, incidentally, prevailed 
in the West in the 1950s and early 1960s, but was abandoned in the mid-1960s 
even by those who had originally devised it. 

However, the problem in question can as well be discussed from the 
historical, cultural, and comparative perspectives. There is absolutely nothing 
prejudicial in observing, for example, that except for brief periods in her 
history, Russia, both Muscovite and imperial, had no representative institutions 
of her own, or that throughout the long years of the ancien regime, the absolute 
majority of the elite, and most likely a majority of the population as well, 


Jaroslaw Pelenski 

accepted an autocratic regime and firm authoritarian methods of governing a 
society as natural and even appropriate conditions. There is also nothing wrong 
with establishing systemic similarities in institutional history or political culture 
between imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, nor is there any inherent anti- 
Russian sentiment implied in studying the policies of Russia’s ancien regime 
toward the non-Russian nationalities of the empire and reaching the conclusion 
that they had been repressive. After all, the implementation of the privislanskii 
krai doctrine on the Polish territories after the mid- 1860s and the enactment of 
the Emskii Ukaz of 1876 in Ukraine, both undertaken during the reign of one of 
the more benevolent Russian emperors, to name only two examples, cannot be 
viewed as evidence of enlightened and progressive policies on the part of the 
Russian imperial government. And they certainly cannot be blamed on 
international communism. 

The same comparative approach applies to the vexed question of continuity 
or discontinuity between traditional Russian imperialism and modem totali- 
tarian or authoritarian Soviet expansionism and hegemonism. The inquiry into 
this question and attempts to ascertain in which areas the policies of the two 
systems have differed and in which they have displayed similarities represent a 
perfectly acceptable and respectable academic and intellectual endeavor which 
cannot simply be dismissed in the name of national sentiment or a devotional 
approach to national history. 

In short, drawing historical parallels and analogies between the policies of 
two different regimes of any given country, including Russia, or even 
conducting a rigorous critique of traditional Russian imperialism, should not be 
interpreted as evidence of hostility or intolerance toward the Russian people. 
Russian imperialism does not represent an isolated phenomenon; other 
European states also engaged in imperialist policies in the past and the 
discussion of these policies is not regarded by the absolute majority of their 
citizens as detrimental to the reputation of their countries. I have always 
rejected the concept of collective responsibility when it is applied to any 
people, including the Russian people, for the deeds committed by their 
governments or elites. Nonetheless, there must have existed some powerful 
forces in the old Russian elite and society which made the building and 
maintaining of that gigantic bicontinental empire possible. And without some 
similar forces the Soviet Union would not be able to function as a modem 
empire today. The fact that elite groups and even some sizable segments of the 
subordinate nationalities have participated in the functioning of the two 
imperial systems, and that Russians have often suffered because of their 
country’s involvement in imperialist policies, does not undermine the validity 
of the comparative approach. 

In conclusion, let me emphasize once again the importance of the Russian- 
Ukrainian dialogue in the future. I sincerely hope that Solzhenitsyn, a man of 
strong moral commitment and of a deeply felt sense of justice, will be able to 



overcome his ambivalent attitudes towards the possibility of attaining a 
normalization of Russian-Ukrainian relations at least in the diaspora, and will 
join the efforts of his Russian compatriots, and of those Ukrainians, who have 
already committed themselves to this noble cause. In Solzhenitsyn’s own 
words, “since the two peoples have not succeeded over the centuries in living 
harmoniously, it is up to us to show sense.” 

Jaroslaw Pelenski 
October 1981 


JOHN A. ARMSTRONG, professor emeritus of political science, University of 
Wisconsin-Madison, resides in his native city, St. Augustine, Florida. During 
1965-67, he was president of the American Association for the Advancement of 
Slavic Studies, and at the University of Wisconsin at various times headed the 
Russian Area Studies Program and the Western European Area Studies 
Program. He is the author of seven books (including Nations before 
Nationalism, 1982, and Ukrainian Nationalism, 3d edition, 1990) and numerous 

YAROSLAV BILINSKY is professor of political science at the University of 
Delaware. He is the author of The Second Soviet Republic: The Ukraine after 
World War II (1964) and numerous articles and book chapters on Soviet 
nationality policy. Currently he is preparing a major work on Gorbachev’s 
policy toward Germany. 

BOHDAN R. BOCIURKIW is professor of political science at Carleton 
University in Ottawa. A specialist in Soviet politics, he has published numerous 
studies on religion and politics in the Soviet Union, especially in Ukraine, in- 
cluding “The Orthodox Church in Ukraine since 1917” in Ukraine: A Concise 
Encyclopedia 2 (1971); Religion and Atheism in the USSR and Eastern Europe 
(co-edited with J.W. Strong, 1975); Ukrainian Churches under Soviet Rule: 
Two Case Studies (1984); and Historische Perspektive der sowjetischen 
Religionspolitik in der Ukraine (1986). 

MARTHA BOHACHEVSKY-CHOMIAK has published widely on Russian 
and East European history. Having taught history at Manhattanville College 
and Johns Hopkins University, she has joined the National Endowment for the 
Humanities in Washington. Her books include S. N. Trubetskoi: An Intellectual 
among the Intelligentsia in Prerevolutionary Russia (1976), A Revolution of the 



Spirit: Crisis in Value in Russian Thought, 1890-1924 (1982), and Feminists 
despite Themselves: Women in Ukrainian Community Life, 1884-1939 (1988). 

RALPH S. CLEM is professor of geography at Florida International University, 
Miami. He is the author, co-author, or editor of several books, chapters, and 
articles dealing with the population geography of Russia and the USSR. 

JAMES CRACRAFT is professor of history at the University of Illinois at 
Chicago. He has published The Church Reform of Peter the Great (1971) and 
edited For God and Peter the Great: The Works of Thomas Consett, 1723-1729 
(1982) and The Soviet Union Today: An Interpretive Guide , 2d ed. (1988). 

GEORGE G. GRABOWICZ is director of the Harvard Ukrainian Research 
Institute and president of the International Association of Ukrainianists. He has 
written on literary theory and on Polish and Ukrainian literature. His books in- 
clude Toward a History of Ukrainian Literature (1981) and The Poet as 
Mythmaker: A Study of Symbolic Meaning in Taras Sevcenko (1982). 

EDGAR HOSCH is professor of history at the University of Munich and head 
of the Department of History at the East European Institute in Munich. He is 
editor of “Schriften zur Geistesgeschichte des Ostlichen Europa” and 
“Veroffentlichungen des Osteuropa-Institutes Miinchen, Reihe: Geschichte” and 
co-editor of Jahrbiicher fur Geschichte Osteuropas. His books include 
Orthodoxie und Haresie im alten Russland (1975), Die Kultur der Ostslaven 
(1977), and Geschichte der Balkanlander (1988). 

EDWARD L. KEENAN is chairman of the Department of History at Harvard. 
He has published The Kurbskii-Groznyi Apocrypha (1972) and contributed 
articles to professional journals. 

JAROSLAW PELENSKI is professor of history at the University of Iowa. His 
writings deal with ideologies, political and legal thought, and comparative 
sociopolitical systems of Russia, Poland and Ukraine in the medieval and early 
modem periods, as well as in the twentieth century. He is the author of Russia 
and Kazan: Conquest and Imperial Ideology, 1438-1 560s (1974) and of more 
than 100 articles. He has edited several books, including The Political and 
Social Ideas of Vjaceslav Lypyns’kyj (1987). 

PETER J. POTICHNYJ is professor of political science at McMaster 
University in Hamilton, Ontario. He has edited or co-edited many volumes on 
Soviet and East European affairs, including Ukraine in the Seventies (1975), 
Poland and Ukraine, Past and Present (1980), The Soviet Union: Party and 
Society (1985), and Ukrainian- Jewish Relations in Historical Perspective, 2d 



ed. (1991). He is co-editor of the multi- volume series Litopys Ukrains’koi 
povstans ’koi armii. 

OMELJAN PRITSAK is Mykhailo S. Hrushevs’kyi Professor of Ukrainian 
History Emeritus at Harvard University. He has published widely in Ukrainian 
and European history and in Turkic philology, and is the author of The Origin 
of Rus ’, vol. 1 (1981). He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and 
Sciences and an honorary member of the Ataturk Academy and other 

MARC RAEFF is Bakhmeteff Professor of Slavic Studies Emeritus, Columbia 
University. His many publications include Origins of the Russian Intelligentsia: 
The Eighteenth-Century Russian Nobility (1966), The Well-Ordered Police 
State: Social and Institutional Change through Law in the Germanies and 
Russia, 1600-1800 (1983), Understanding Imperial Russia: State and Society in 
the Old Regime (1984), and Russia Abroad: A Cultural History of the Russian 
Emigration, 1919-1939 (1990). 

JOHN S. RESHETAR, JR. is professor emeritus of political science at the 
University of Washington (Seattle). He previously taught at Princeton 
University and was a visiting lecturer at Yale University. He is the author of 
The Ukrainian Revolution, 1917-1920 (1952); A Concise History of the 
Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1960); The Soviet Polity: Government 
and Politics in the USSR (1971), and various other works. 

NICHOLAS V. RIASANOVSKY is professor of history at the University of 
California, Berkeley. His books include Nicholas I and Official Nationality in 
Russia, 1825-1855 (1959), A Parting of Ways: Government and the Educated 
Public in Russia, 1801-1855 (1976), A History of Russia, 4th ed. (1984), and 
The Image of Peter the Great in Russian History and Thought (1985). 

HANS J. TORKE is professor of Russian and East European History at the 
Free University of Berlin. He has published books on the Russian bureaucracy 
in the first half of